A single vaccine dose offers as much if not more protection for people who were previously on the shielding list as it does for the rest of the population, a study has found.
Research led by Public Health Scotland and supported by the University of Edinburgh, examined the effectiveness of the vaccine using data from more than 100,000 people to determine its impact on reducing severe Covid-19 among those designated as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Cancer patients were among those advised to take extra precautions during the first few months of the pandemic amid evidence they are six times more likely to become seriously ill.
There were some concerns that a weakened immune system may reduce the effectiveness of Covid vaccines.
Researchers found that the efficacy of a single vaccination dose in protecting against severe Covid-19 was as high or higher in those eligible for shielding as in those without risk conditions.
Patients deemed extremely clinically vulnerable will be among those receiving booster vaccinations later this year.
Dr Nicholas Phin, Director of Public Health Science at Public Health Scotland, said:
“Those that are considered clinically extremely vulnerable are about six times more likely to experience severe Covid-19 leading to hospitalisation or death, than someone the same age without their condition.
“The results of this study are therefore hugely encouraging in showing that vaccination amongst this group does provide substantial levels of protection against COVID-19.
“This should bring welcome news to those who are at most risk across the country.”