NHS staff absences during the second wave of the pandemic could have been reduced by as much as 69% due to the uptake of Covid vaccinations, a new study has shown.
This comes via a study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which suggests that the rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations had a significant positive effect on the attendance of NHS staff during the latter stages of the pandemic.
The vaccination rollout began in December 2020 and healthcare staff were among the very first group of recipients.
Staff absences without the aid of the vaccine could have been as much as 69% higher, and without the vaccine an extra 10% of patient-facing staff would have been affected.
Furthermore, the odds of infection increased by 2% every day a healthcare worker went without vaccination.
A BMJ press release explained: “Another study published by The BMJ today compared the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines against infection in 317,341 health and social care workers in England vaccinated between 4 January and 28 February 2021.
“Using data from the OpenSAFELY research platform, the results show strong protection from both vaccines and no substantial differences between the two vaccines in rates of infection or covid-19 related hospital attendance and admission.
“Together, these findings provide essential insights into SARS-CoV-2 infection in health and social care workers that can be used to guide further infection prevention and control measures.”
The researchers said this study “reinforces the importance of vaccination among healthcare workers during a significant wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in England.”
They added: “Greater understanding of transmission dynamics among healthcare workers, particularly according to role and setting, will support NHS trusts in protecting their workforce and patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection and potentially other seasonal winter viruses.”