The vaccination campaign has prevented more than 23 million Covid infections and around 85,000 deaths in England, figures suggest.
Analysis using Public Health England’s real time pandemic surveillance model showed that up to 6 August the vaccination programme has also directly averted more than 66,900 hospitalisations.
The calculations from PHE and Cambridge University’s MRC Biostatistics Unit compare the estimated impact of vaccination on infection and mortality against a worst-case scenario where no vaccines and no non-pharmaceutical interventions were in place.
Weekly surveillance figures from PHE suggest that Covid infections are stable at a national level with case rates highest in 20-29 year olds.
While older people have the lowest case rates, the highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above, the figures show.
The report also outlined that based on antibody testing of blood donors, 96.9% of the adult population now have antibodies to Covid from either infection or vaccination.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE, said: ‘These figures show the vaccine programme’s remarkable impact on saving lives and reducing the spread of the virus.
‘As cases have increased, the true scale of protection from the vaccine programme has become clear. Everyone that has come forward for their vaccine has played a part in this vital effort.’
She added: ‘It’s important that people under 30 years of age continue to take up the offer of the vaccine. Infection rates are highest in this age group and Covid-19 can be serious for some.’
Weekly surveillance figures also show that respiratory syncytial virus positivity has continued to rise for the eighth consecutive week with the highest positivity seen in under 5 year olds.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, said: ‘This winter, we expect levels of common seasonal illnesses such as cold and flu to increase as people mix more and given that fewer people will have built up natural immunity during the pandemic.
‘Children under 2 are at a particular risk of severe infections from common seasonal illnesses. If a child under 2 is suffering from a cold, keep a close eye on their symptoms and make sure to contact your doctor if they get a high temperature, become breathless or have difficulty feeding.’
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