Booster jabs prevented more than 100,000 hospitalisations during Omicron wave

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The UK Health Security Agency said 87,300 over-65s would have ended up on wards between December 13 and February 6 were it not for the third jab. Data also shows 14,300 hospitalisations were avoided for those aged 45-64, and 4,000 for 25 to 44-year-olds.

Yesterday there were 10,734 Covid patients in hospitals across England, including 384 in mechanical ventilation beds – down by more than a third from a peak of 17,120 on January 10.

Dr Colin Brown,of the Health Security Agency, said: “Vaccines remain an essential defence against serious illness, so we should continue to take up the offer of our vaccine and booster jabs right away.

“Please remember to test regularly before meeting anyone who is vulnerable and to take a PCR test if you have symptoms.”

The agency’s latest report showed hospitalisations have “decreased slightly in all age groups” in the past week.

More than two million genome sequences for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the global GISAID database have now been added by the UK, helping scientists track the spread of variants worldwide.

Genomic sequencing allows scientists to gain a better understanding of how the virus is evolving so mutations can be identified early.

A further 66,638 Covid cases and 206 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported yesterday.

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