The Covid-19 vaccination programme has prevented the deaths of some 10,400 older people in England since it began, new analysis suggests.
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal the thousands of lives saved among those aged 60 and over in the space of four months.
From December 8 last year up to the end of March, more than 15 million jabs have been given to adults in this age group, PHE said.
According to its estimates, 9,100 deaths were prevented in those aged 80 and over, 1,200 were avoided in those aged 70 to 79, and 100 lives were saved in those aged 60 to 69.
But experts believe the “true value” of the Covid-19 vaccines may also be seen in terms of avoiding future deaths should there be a resurgence of the virus in the UK.
It’s fantastic to see the impact our pioneering vaccination programme is already having, with over 10,000 lives saved in a short space of timeHealth Secretary Matt Hancock
PHE’s analysis compared the observed number of deaths with the number that would have been expected if vaccines had not been administered in the time frame of the study, and allowed for 31 days for the effect of vaccination on deaths to be observed.
Expected deaths with Covid-19 were estimated using real-world data on how effective the vaccines are at preventing death and vaccine uptake.
The analysis takes into account the direct effects of vaccines, but PHE said there is now “increasing evidence” that they also help to reduce transmission, making it “likely” a higher number of deaths will have been prevented by the vaccination programme.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s fantastic to see the impact our pioneering vaccination programme is already having, with over 10,000 lives saved in a short space of time.
“That’s more than 10,000 families who haven’t suffered the loss of a loved one.
“The science is clear: vaccines save lives. All three of our approved vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by our world-class independent medicines regulator.
“The new figures published today show why it’s so vital that people get their second dose too. When people get the call, they should get the jab.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE head of immunisation, said: “This latest analysis is further evidence that the Covid-19 vaccinations are continuing to prevent hundreds of deaths every day.
“I would encourage anyone who is offered a vaccine to take it as soon as possible.
“While the vaccines have a striking impact on mortality, we don’t confidently know yet how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing Covid-19 onto others.
“Even if you have been vaccinated, it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practise good hand hygiene and stay at home.”