Coronavirus vaccines have so far prevented nearly 40,000 hospital admissions and saved more than 13,000 older people's lives in England, new data suggests.
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal that, up to 13 May, vaccines stopped an estimated 39,700 people in England aged 65 and over from needing hospital treatment – and saved 13,200 lives among those aged 60 and over.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street briefing on Thursday the new figures showed the case for vaccination had never been stronger.
He added: "They [PHE] have estimated that over the last week the vaccination programme has prevented a further 200 deaths and prevented a further 600 people from going into hospital.
"Bringing these figures together it means that in total 13,200 deaths have been prevented and 39,700 hospitalisations by the vaccine programme.
"So the case for getting the jab has never been stronger."
The PHE analysis compared the observed number of deaths with the number of deaths that would have been expected if the vaccine had not been given during this time period.
Using this method, PHE estimated that 11,200 lives were saved among people aged 80 and over, 1,700 in those aged 70 to 79 and 300 in those aged 60 to 69.
When it comes to hospital admissions, some 4,900 admissions were prevented in those aged 65 to 74, 15,600 in those aged 75 to 84 and 19,200 in those aged 85 and over.
These estimates are calculated by looking at vaccine effectiveness against hospital admissions, vaccine coverage and observed hospital admissions, as well as modelling.
But PHE said that because it does not include the impact of vaccination on reducing transmission, the true impact of the programme was likely to be "even greater".
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist at PHE, said: "This analysis gives further confidence that two doses of the vaccine provide vital protection against the variants in circulation in the UK, so it is important to book your second jab when invited to gain maximum protection.
"The vaccines are very safe and very effective, and they will protect you and those around you from becoming seriously ill."
Additional reporting by PA
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