BEING fully vaccinated against Covid cuts the risk of death from the Delta strain by more than 90 per cent, according to a study of the Scottish population.

Researchers found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 91% effective in preventing deaths in people who have been double vaccinated, but still become infected.

The EAVE II Covid-19 surveillance study, which is tracking real-world outcomes in Scotland, is the first to show across an entire country how effective vaccines are at preventing death from the now dominant Delta variant.

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Researchers from Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland analysed data from 5.4 million people in Scotland between 1 April and 27 September 2021.

During this period, there were 201 Covid deaths recorded due to the virus among people who had tested positive in the community - as opposed to in hospital.

HeraldScotland: Covid deaths have not returned to levels seen in waves one and two, pre-vaccinationsCovid deaths have not returned to levels seen in waves one and two, pre-vaccinations

The Moderna vaccine is also available in Scotland and no deaths have been recorded in those who have been double vaccinated with it. Consequently, it has not been possible to estimate its effectiveness in preventing death, researchers said.

The findings are published as a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute and EAVE II study lead, said: “With the Delta variant now the dominant strain in many places worldwide and posing a higher risk of hospitalisation than previous variants seen in the UK, it is reassuring to see that vaccination offers such high protection from death very shortly after the second dose.”

“If you still have not taken up your offer to be vaccinated, I would encourage you to do so based on the clear benefits it offers.”

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Professor Chris Robertson, of the University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland, said: “This study shows the value of carrying out analyses of routine healthcare data available in near real-time.

“Our findings are encouraging in showing that the vaccine remains an effective measure in protecting both ourselves and others from death from the most dominant variant of Covid-19.

"It is very important to validate these early results in other settings and with a longer follow-up study.”