PEOPLE who have been ‘boosted’ against Covid are ten times less likely to be admitted to hospital with the virus compared to the double-jabbed, according to the first data showing the impact of the rollout in Scotland.
A report by Public Health Scotland also shows admissions among unvaccinated individuals, who tend to be younger, had outnumbered those for people who had received a third or booster dose in recent weeks despite this group being disproportionately older or vulnerable due to underlying conditions.
In the four weeks from November 20 to December 17, there were 213 Covid admissions among the boosted group compared to 740 among people who had received two vaccine doses and 381 among those who had never been vaccinated.
Once the figures were adjusted for age, it showed that the hospitalisation rate was just 2.8 per 100,000 among people given booster and third doses compared to 29.7 for the double-jabbed and 34.5 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated during the week ending December 17.
PHS stressed that the figures “do not differentiate between individuals in hospital with Covid-19 illness requiring hospitalisation compared to those in hospital for other reasons (e.g. routine operations) for whom Covid-19 was identified incidentally through testing”.
Previous data has indicated that around two thirds of Covid patients in hospital in Scotland were there “because of” the virus, with one in three testing positive while in hospital for other treatment.
However, the figures suggest that the number of people ending up in hospital is much lower than it would have been without boosters.
The campaign has ramped up during December amid concerns over the danger posed by the fast-spreading new Omicron variant.
To date, 60% of adults in Scotland have been boosted.
Preliminary evidence suggested that Omicron had eroded protection against symptomatic infection from boosters, to around 75% compared to 95% with the Delta variant.
However, protection against serious illness is still expected to be robust.
The Omicron variant overtook Delta as the dominant strain in Scotland on December 17. As a result, the majority of Covid hospitalisations during December will have been Delta infections.
The PHS report states: “On average, unvaccinated individuals are younger than individuals with a booster or a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Older individuals are more likely to be hospitalised than younger individuals. To account for the different age distribution of individuals in each vaccine status, age-standardised hospitalisation rates are reported…in the past four weeks, from 20 November 2021 to 17 December 2021, the age-rate of hospital admissions per 100,000 were lower in individuals that had received a booster or third dose compared to unvaccinated individuals.
“In the last week in an age-standardised population, individuals were 12.5 times more likely to be in hospital with Covid-19 if they were unvaccinated compared to individuals that had received a booster or third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.”
Similar figures were also evident in relation to mortality, with the Covid death rate among boosted individuals just 0.26 per 100,000 in the week to December 10 compared to 9.31 per 100,000 among patients who were double-jabbed and 5.51 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.