The newest COVID-19 vaccine shots are 54 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infections in adults, according to a recent study by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest vaccines, which became available last year, were designed to better protect people against the more recent variants of the virus.

In a study released on Thursday, which involved 9,000 people who got tested for COVID-19 at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies across the US, the CDC came to the conclusion that in 54 per cent of the cases, the new shots prevented adults infected with the virus from developing symptoms.

The study’s findings are similar to those observed in other countries, according to Ruth Link-Gelles of the CDC, the study's lead author, and similar to the results obtained by previous vaccines.

Researchers will need more time to understand if the new shots are effective at preventing symptoms severe enough to send patients to a doctor's office or hospital, Link-Gelles said.

19.4 million over 60s got one COVID jab

At the end of summer last year, the CDC recommended that everyone aged six months and older take the new shots, especially as a surge in infections was expected by autumn and winter when people traditionally get sick with the cold, the flu, and other common respiratory diseases.

The latest CDC data suggest only 22 per cent of US adults have gotten the shots and only 11 per cent of children. 

In Europe, vaccination campaigns have varied from country to country, but most have recommended the new shots be administered to the most vulnerable first, including the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

According to the latest report on vaccination released by the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on January 26, approximately 19.4 million people aged 60 years and older received one COVID-19 vaccine dose between September 2023 and January 2024.

Approximately 5.5 million people aged 80 years and older received one COVID-19 vaccine dose during the same period.

The median COVID-19 vaccination coverage among people aged 60 years and older in Europe was 11.1 per cent, with high variation among countries, according to the ECDC. 

For people aged 80 years and older, the median coverage was slightly higher at 16.3 per cent, with high variation among countries.

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