Sunday, August 29, 2021

AstraZeneca vaccine is the best at keeping people out of hospital with just 1.52 per cent admitted and 1 in 3,000 dying compared to 1.99 per cent for the Pfizer jab

Since I have just had an A-Z shot, I rather like this news

AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine is best at keeping people out of hospital and preventing deaths from the virus, a study has found.

Just 1.52 per cent of people who got two doses of the Oxford-made vaccine were admitted to wards after they caught the virus, researchers said. And only 0.03 per cent, or one in 3,000, died from the disease.

But among those who got the Pfizer vaccine 1.99 per cent were hospitalised and 0.15 per cent died after they were infected with the virus.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has formed the backbone of Britain's vaccine roll out, with 25million people having already received the jab. But it was recommended that under-40s should receive an alternative jab in May amid concern over vanishingly rare blood clots.

It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid ordered the NHS to prepare to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds yesterday, in the clearest sign yet that jabs could be offered to the age group.

The JCVI — which directs Britain's vaccine roll out — is yet to say whether the age group should get the vaccine, but a SAGE adviser said today that inoculating teenagers could slash their risk of getting long Covid.

There is mounting concern that the return of schools next week will spark a fresh wave of Covid infections, after Scotland saw its cases spiral to record highs when schools reopened last Monday.

Britain is currently recording more than 30,000 cases a day on average, compared to almost 2,000 a day at the end of August last year. Scotland yesterday registered almost 7,000 infections, the highest number since the pandemic began.

A separate study from Public Health England and Cambridge University has today suggested people infected with the Indian 'Delta' variant are twice as likely to be hospitalised as those who catch the Kent 'Alpha' variant.

Researchers in Bahrain and at the New York-based Columbia University carried out the study between December and July, which was published as a pre-print.

They monitored hospitalisations and deaths among people who caught the virus in Bahrain, an island nation in the Middle East, and divided them by vaccine type or those who did not get their jabs.

Scientists have always been honest and said that vaccines do not prevent every infection, but they drastically slash the risk of hospitalisation and death from the virus.

The study also included the Chinese Sinopharm and Russian Sputnik jabs, which were both worse at preventing hospitalisations than their European and American counterparts.

It was already known that the Covid strain first identified in India is up to 50 per cent more transmissible than the previous dominant Alpha variant, which emerged in Kent.

But the largest study to date comparing the two now shows those infected with the Delta strain are 2.26 times more likely to be admitted to hospital.

Delta is also 1.45 times more likely to see people entering A&E needing emergency treatment.

Scientists claimed this is more proof that the same traits which make the variant spread faster also increase levels of the virus in those it infects, which results in them becoming more severely ill.

The authors of the study, led by Public Health England and Cambridge University, said their results should be used by hospitals to plan – especially in areas where the Delta variant is on the rise.

Dr Anne Presanis, a senior statistician at the university, said: ‘Our analysis highlights that in the absence of vaccination, any Delta outbreaks will impose a greater burden on healthcare than an Alpha epidemic.

‘Getting fully vaccinated is crucial for reducing an individual’s risk of symptomatic infection with Delta in the first place and, importantly, of reducing a Delta patient’s risk of severe illness and hospital admission.’

For those who got the Sinopharm vaccine 6.94 per cent were hospitalised, and 0.46 per cent died — which was the worst performance out of the four vaccines.

Among Sputnik recipients 2.24 per cent were hospitalised, but only 0.09 per cent died from the virus.

The results showed those who did not get the vaccine were most likely to be hospitalised or die if they caught the virus.

Among the un-vaccinated, 13.22 per cent who caught the virus were hospitalised and 1.32 per cent died.

The Bahraini researchers said in their study: 'All four vaccines decreased the risk of coronavirus infections, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths when compared to unvaccinated individuals.'

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, told The Sun: 'This study shows people in the UK can be confident they’re getting the best vaccines available.

'AstraZeneca and Pfizer provide good protection.'

The Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has been the main jab used in Bahrain, which is home to almost 1.5million people.

More than 569,000 people have been inoculated with the jab.

For comparison, 245,000 residents got the Pfizer jab, 169,000 got AstraZeneca's vaccine and 73,000 received Sputnik.

Clinical trial results suggested the Pfizer vaccine was the most effective at preventing hospitalisations and deaths from Covid.

But experts have warned these figures may not be comparable when jabs are dished out in the real world, when other factors can influence their impact.

Out of 3,000 AstraZeneca recipients included in the study who caught Covid, only 45 were hospitalised (1.52 per cent) and just one died from the virus (0.03 per cent).

Out of 2,000 Pfizer recipients who caught the virus, 40 were hospitalised (1.99 per cent) and three died from the virus (0.15 per cent).

Out of 3,000 Sputnik recipients who caught the virus, 77 were hospitalised (2.24 per cent) and three died (0.09 per cent).

For the Sinopharm vaccine there were 24,000 cases, of whom 1,683 were hospitalised (6.94 per cent) and 112 died (0.46 per cent).

And among the un-vaccinated almost 65,000 caught the virus, of whom almost 9,000 were hospitalised (13.22 per cent) and 857 died (1.32 per cent).

More than 1.5million people have got the US-made Moderna vaccine in Britain, but this was not included in the study.


Key Inflation Gauge Posts Fastest Annual Price Gain in 30 Years

This must happen with runaway government spending

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the so-called core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, vaulted in the 12 months through July to levels not seen in 30 years.

The Commerce Department said in a release Friday that core PCE rose 3.6 percent over the year in July, matching last month’s level, which was an increase from 3.5 percent in May and 3.1 percent in April.

The last time the core PCE inflation gauge saw a similar year-over-year vault was in July 1991, while the highest level the measure has hit is 10.2 percent in February 1975, when the economy was gripped in a troubling upwards wage-price spiral fueled by rising inflation expectations on the part of consumers.

The Fed looks to core PCE as a key inflation measure that informs its monetary policy, which has an inflation target of a longer-run average of 2 percent.

On a monthly basis, the core PCE gauge rose 0.3 percent between June and July, after rising 0.5 percent the prior month, suggesting inflationary pressures may have peaked.

It comes as Fed officials are meeting virtually for an annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, with investors watching closely for signs of when and how the central bank may begin to roll back its extraordinary support measures for the economy. In response to the pandemic hit to the economy, the Fed last year dropped interest rates to near zero and set out on a massive asset purchasing program, buying around $80 billion in Treasury securities and $40 billion in mortgage securities per month.

In a speech Friday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell addressed inflationary pressures, acknowledging a “sharp run-up in inflation” driven by the rapid reopening of the economy while reiterating his oft-repeated view that price pressures would moderate once supply-side shortages and bottlenecks further abate.

Powell acknowledged the relatively high level of Friday’s core PCE print, noting it’s “well above our 2 percent longer-run objective” and that both businesses and consumers “widely report upward pressure on prices and wages.”

“Inflation at these levels is, of course, a cause for concern. But that concern is tempered by a number of factors that suggest that these elevated readings are likely to prove temporary,” he said, arguing that the current spike in inflation is largely driven by a relatively narrow group of goods and services that have been directly impacted by the pandemic and the reopening of the economy.

“We are also directly monitoring the prices of particular goods and services most affected by the pandemic and the reopening, and are beginning to see a moderation in some cases as shortages ease. Used car prices, for example, appear to have stabilized; indeed, some price indicators are beginning to fall,” Powell said.

Powell added that officials have not, so far, noted broad-based inflationary pressures but acknowledged that evidence of such pressures spreading more broadly through the economy would be concerning and would prompt a swift policy response.

The Fed chief also addressed wage pressures. In the 1970s, upward pressure on wages combined with growing consumer expectations of further price increases to push prices higher, prompting the Fed to raise interest rates. Powell said there is little evidence of this phenomenon today.

“If wage increases were to move materially and persistently above the levels of productivity gains and inflation, businesses would likely pass those increases on to customers, a process that could become the sort of ‘wage-price spiral’ seen at times in the past,” Powell said.

“Today we see little evidence of wage increases that might threaten excessive inflation. Broad-based measures of wages that adjust for compositional changes in the labor force, such as the employment cost index and the Atlanta Wage Growth Tracker, show wages moving up at a pace that appears consistent with our longer-term inflation objective,” he said.

Powell also noted disinflationary forces like technology and globalization, arguing that there is little evidence these have suddenly reversed or abated, arguing that “it seems more likely that they will continue to weigh on inflation as the pandemic passes into history.”

He said the baseline economic outlook is for the economy to continue progressing towards maximum employment, with inflation returning closer to the Fed’s goal of averaging 2 percent over time.




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