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Vaccine incredibly successful, but more outbreaks likely, says Director of Public Health Devon

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Devon’s Director of Public Health has given assurance that the coronavirus vaccine is ‘incredibly successful’.

Steve Brown said today that since the vaccination programme began, the numbers of people with coronavirus needing hospital treatment or dying have reduced significantly.

The latest research shows that the vaccine gives about an 80 per cent protection against needing treatment in hospital, and an 85 per cent protection from dying from coronavirus.

Mr Brown was responding to a question about the effectiveness of the vaccine, following two outbreaks of coronavirus in East Devon care homes.

Residents and staff in both homes had had their first dose vaccinations and are due their second doses very soon.

“But no vaccine is one hundred per cent effective,” he qualified.

“There will still be people who catch coronavirus, and particularly those most vulnerable – the elderly and those who have clinical risk – who will potentially get coronavirus and still become seriously ill.”

Asked whether outbreaks like these can happen again, Steve Brown said:

“We are going to continue to get small outbreaks in settings such as care homes, workplaces and schools. But whenever we get an outbreak, the response is quick and swift.

“Agencies (including Public Health Devon, Devon County Council, NHS Devon, Public Health England) come together. We look at how we can put in additional resources, such as additional staff or other appropriate resources, and we step up the cleaning regime for example.

“Such measures are designed to protect and safeguard those people in that setting, and to try to reduce any onward transmission.

“Even when you’ve been vaccinated, it’s still really important that you continue to adopt public health measures – stay at home.  If you do need to go out, make sure that you keep social distancing, wear those face coverings when indoors in public spaces, and wash your hands regularly,” he said.

Listen to the interview with Steve Brown.

The two outbreaks make East Devon case rates currently the highest in the county, even though they, and cases in Devon overall are still below the national averages.

Case rates in Devon have been falling, but in recent weeks that decline has slowed.

Case rates in the county are currently highest in people aged 20 to 39 years old.