Documents released by the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) on Monday show that scientists from Imperial College London assumed the Oxford/Astra Zeneca jab would prevent 80 per cent of cases of severe disease. 

Modelling from Warwick University, which also fed into Sage’s planning, assumed two doses of the vaccine would block transmission by 60 per cent.

Data from Public Health England on Monday showed that just one dose of the Pfizer jab was enough to stop infections by up to 70 per cent, with PHE officials saying it was likely to have a similar impact on transmission. They said that while it was too early to publish data on AstraZeneca, similar trends were being seen.

It followed data from Israel suggesting the jabs are blocking 85 per cent of transmission. But real world data from Scotland released the same day showed they are stopping a “spectacular” 94 per cent of hospitalisations.

On Tuesday, Government data showed that daily new hospitalisations are the lowest since November. There were 1,323 admissions for Covid across the UK, while daily cases dropped to 8,489. Both represent a sharp fall on the same day last week.

However, some scientists are concerned that the seven-day rolling average is down by just 12 per cent compared with a fall of 28 per cent the week before.

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, raised concerns that, when combined with data from King’s College’s ZOE tracker, it could suggest the ‘R’ number in some parts of the UK may be approaching one.

A Government spokesman said the roadmap timetable would not be accelerated, adding: “As the Health Secretary made clear, the dates set out in the road map are the earliest that any changes will take place.”

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