VACCINES should be able to control the Covid-19 pandemic, experts have said.

New real-world UK data shows that jabs slash infection and are likely to cut transmission.

Just one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines leads to a two-thirds drop in cases and is 74 per cent effective against symptomatic infection.

After two doses of Pfizer, there was a 70 per cent reduction in all cases and a 90 per cent drop in symptomatic cases – these are the people who are most likely to transmit coronavirus to others.

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Experts are still collecting data on two doses of AstraZeneca but say their findings show that both vaccines work and are effective in the real world.

One of the new studies, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, is based on data from the national Covid-19 Infection Survey run by the University of Oxford and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It included a random sample of more than 373,000 adults from across the UK, who produced more than 1.6 million swab test results between December and April.

Professor Sarah Walker, from the University of Oxford and chief investigator for the survey, said the study suggested vaccines could reduce transmission and were also effective against the Kent variant of coronavirus.

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She said: "Showing that the benefits are greater both for people with high viral load and for people with symptoms, both of whom have probably got the greatest chance of onward transmission, was really not necessarily something I was expecting and… I was pleasantly surprised."

The data showed a 57 per cent drop in infections among people not experiencing symptoms after one vaccine dose.

Dr Koen Pouwels, senior researcher at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, said the experts were 'fairly confident' that the vaccines reduced onward transmission of the virus.

He added: "However, the fact that we saw smaller reductions in asymptomatic infections than infections with symptoms highlights the potential for vaccinated individuals to get Covid-19 again, and for limited ongoing transmission from vaccinated individuals, even if this is at a lower rate."

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"This emphasises the need for everyone to continue to follow guidelines to reduce transmission risk, for example through social distancing and masks."

Professor Walker said she was 'cautiously optimistic' that the pandemic could be controlled long term with vaccines.

She argued that 'lockdown is not a viable solution' in the long term and vaccines are 'clearly going to be the only way that we are going to have a chance to control this long term'.

However, she said the 'virus is very good at throwing us curveballs' and 'we are always going to be one small step away from the potential for things to go wrong again'.