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Vaccines have prevented 22 million infections and 60,000 deaths, figures show

By Aine Fox and Ian Jones, PA

Covid vaccines have prevented an estimated 22 million infections and 60,000 deaths in England, according to new data.

Jabs are also estimated to have directly averted more than 52,600 hospital admissions, new figures from Public Health England (PHE) suggest.

The figures were published as England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said he hopes the worst of the pandemic is behind us but warned there could be “one or two bumpy periods” ahead.

The statistics cover the period up to July 23 and are based on modelling by PHE and Cambridge University.

Previous estimates, for the period up to July 9, had suggested about 37,000 deaths and 11 million infections had been prevented.

Prof Van-Tam disputed a claim made to a newspaper by a senior minister earlier this week that Covid is “all over bar the shouting” after cases dropped sharply this month.

Prof Van-Tam told the BBC News channel: “I wish it were so. This is not all over bar the shouting. I hope the worst is behind us but I think it’s quite possible that we’re going to have one or two bumpy periods in the autumn and in the winter, not only through Covid, but also through flu and other respiratory viruses as well.”

He said lockdowns last winter had “completely shut out pretty much all of the other respiratory viruses” which he said could re-emerge this year.

He said: “If we don’t have further lockdowns, and I hope we don’t, then I think other respiratory viruses like flu are also going to come back this winter, and it’s going to be equally important that people who are called for their flu vaccines actually come forwards and have them this winter.”

The latest modelling on the rollout shows the “remarkable impact” jabs have had on saving lives and reducing the spread of coronavirus, said Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist at PHE.

He said: “As cases have increased, the true scale of protection from the vaccine programme has become clear. Everyone that has come forward for their vaccine has played a part in this vital effort.

“It remains vital that everyone gets two doses of the vaccine, to protect you and those around you from Covid-19. You must book your second jab when invited, to gain maximum protection.”

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