Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL

People who are fully vaccinated are 16 times less likely to end up in intensive care wards or to die from Covid-19 than those who are not immunised, an Australian study has found.

Nearly 16 out of 100,000 people who had yet to receive a Covid vaccine landed in intensive care or died after contracting the virus, compared to fewer than one in every 100,000 who were fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by health authorities in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state.

The country has rolled out mRNA vaccines co-developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, a similar one from Moderna, and a viral vector shot from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

The results add to a growing body of evidence that the vaccines’ protection against severe disease and death holds up even after the waning of protective antibodies over time allowed more breakthrough infections. Data collected in Texas showed unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to perish from the virus than those who were fully protected.  

Such results are likely to bolster the case for countries to treat Covid as endemic, causing a mostly mild malaise among the vaccinated. Mass vaccination programmes can ease the strain Covid imposes on local healthcare systems, preventing overcrowded hospitals and rising demand for intensive care and ventilation — all hallmarks of the crisis in many countries during the early days of the pandemic. 

Data gathered from New South Wales showed vaccination reduced the risk of infection more than 10-fold compared to those who were unvaccinated in the two weeks to September 7. The shot appeared more effective in walling off the virus among teenagers, compared with its success among older people. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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