New Public Health England (PHE) analysis indicates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme prevented 11,700 deaths in those aged 60 and older in England up to the end of April.
For the first time, analysis also suggests that at least 33,000 hospitalisations were prevented in those aged 65 and older in England, in the same time period.
The work compared the observed number of deaths with the number of deaths that would have been expected if the vaccine hadn’t been given during this time period.
Using this method, PHE estimates that around 11,700 deaths were prevented by the end of April – 9,900 in those aged 80 and over, 1,500 in those aged 70 to 79 and 300 in those aged 60 to 69.
Expected deaths with COVID-19 were estimated using real-world data on how effective the vaccines are at preventing death and vaccine uptake.
New analysis also shows further evidence that the vaccine is highly effective in preventing hospitalisations, especially in older age.
Up to the end of April, approximately 3,900 hospital admissions were prevented in those aged 65 to 74, 13,100 in those aged 75 to 84 and 16,000 in those aged 85 and older.
The number of hospitalisations prevented can be estimated by considering vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation, vaccine coverage and observed hospitalisations, as well as through modelling.
The work takes into account the direct effects of vaccines. There is now clear and increasing evidence that vaccines help to reduce transmission, therefore it is likely that an even higher number of deaths and hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccination programme.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In only a few short months, our COVID-19 vaccines have saved the lives of over 11,700 people and stopped over 33,000 from being hospitalised. After a heart-breaking and difficult year, that is remarkable.
“That’s tens of thousands of parents, children, siblings, friends and loved ones saved – and millions more who haven’t had to feel the impact of that horrible loss too.
“This is further proof that getting a vaccine is one of the most important things you will be asked to do in your lifetime – when offered the jab, don’t hesitate in securing this protection for yourself and others.”
The data presented is as a result of people receiving their first dose of the vaccine.
Separate analysis indicates that the protection against hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 increases further following the second dose.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “The vaccine has already saved so many lives and we can now see the huge impact it has had on preventing people becoming seriously ill and therefore also protecting our hospitals.
“As these figures highlight, getting your vaccine could save your life or stop you becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. It will also significantly reduce your chances of getting infected and infecting others. It is vital to get both doses of your vaccine when you are offered it.”
As more individuals are vaccinated and develop an immune response to the second dose, future analyses will include the impact of the second dose.