COVID vaccination: What's next?
Dr Catherine Heffernan looks at the story so far, and what the future holds for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout
The COVID-19 pandemic (caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) has led to more than 180 million infections and 4 million deaths worldwide (Dong et al, 2021). Since December 2020, effective vaccines have been available and deployed in the UK (NHS England, 2021). By 19 September 2021, a total of 77 510 471 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been given in England. Over 37 million of these were second doses (Public Health England, 2021). This equates to 64.9% overall uptake for first dose and 59.5% for the second dose. Public Health England estimated that over 119 900 deaths and 24 million infections were prevented. Over 230 800 hospitalisations were averted.
In line with the programme rollout, coverage is highest in the oldest age groups. Over 95% of people aged 55 and older are fully vaccinated with two doses whilst uptake is 47.3% in 30–34 age group and 61% in 35-39 years (NHS England, 2021). COVID-19 vaccination was also seen to reduce onward transmission in a household by a third to a half where the confirmed case had been vaccinated with a single dose (Harris et al, 2021).
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