Oxford University covid vaccine 'safe and effective,' latest data shows

8 December 2020, 16:01 | Updated: 8 December 2020, 17:40

In a study where volunteers received a half dose followed by a full dose, the Oxford vaccine was found to be 90% effective.
In a study where volunteers received a half dose followed by a full dose, the Oxford vaccine was found to be 90% effective. Picture: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/PA Images

By Joe Cook

A new peer-reviewed study says the Oxford University and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine “has a good safety record and efficacy”, as new data was submitted to the medicines regulator.

Results from 11,636 volunteers who were given the jab, found on average the vaccine is 70.4 percent effective in preventing coronavirus after two doses.

The new phrase three data has been submitted to the UK’s has been submitted to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for approval.

Read more: Medical expert says 'there is light at the end of the tunnel' as Covid vaccine rollout begins

In a study where people received a half dose followed by a full dose, the vaccine was found to be 90% effective. For people given two full doses, the vaccine was 62.1% effective.

The new peer-reviewed analysis concluded that, irrespective of age or time between doses, the people given the half dose followed by the full dose had better odds of protection against Covid-19.

Calming any concerns about side effects, the Oxford researchers said there were no admissions to hospital or severe disease in people receiving the vaccine.

However, most of this data is based on people aged 55 and under, with more work in older age groups still ongoing.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, said: "Today we have published the interim analysis of the phase three trial and show that this new vaccine has a good safety record and efficacy against the coronavirus.

"We are hugely grateful to our trial volunteers for working with us over the past eight months to bring us to this milestone."

Read more: Who will get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine first in the UK?

He added: "Our findings indicate that our vaccine's efficacy exceeds the thresholds set by health authorities and may have a potential public health impact."

The Oxford vaccine is now under review by the MHRA and Oxford Professor of Vaccinology Sarah Gilbert, said the researchers hope it will “shortly be in use to start saving lives".

The positive news about the Oxford vaccine comes on the same day the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine began being rolled out by the NHS.

The Pfizer vaccine has shown to be 95 percent effective in trials and uses different technology to the Oxford vaccine.

Grandmother Margaret Keenan, 90, received the Pfizer jab at 6.31am in Coventry on Tuesday, marking the start of an historic mass vaccination programme.

Dubbed ‘V-day’ by Matt Hancock, the health secretary told LBC he hoped the rollout of vaccines would mean the UK can have a “normal summer” in 2021.

In total the UK has secured 355 million vaccine doses, including 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. Most require to doses to be effective.