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Double dose vaccines effective against Indian variant

Monday May 24th 2021

Double dose vaccination is “highly effective” against the Indian variant of COVID-19 – but not quite as effective as against other variants, British researchers have reported.

The British government said the findings, from Public Health England, showed the vaccination programme would continue to protect the population.

The study found limited effectiveness of one dose of mRNA or adenoviral vaccines against the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) – currently the subject of major public health concerns aimed at preventing its spread.

Within three weeks of one dose, the vaccines were just 33% effective in preventing symptomatic disease from the Indian variant. They were 50% effective against the Kent variant, which has predominated this year.

Two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against symptomatic disease compared with 66% effectiveness against the Kent variant.

The Pfizer vaccine, in contrast, was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant and 93% effective against the Kent virus.

Public Health England said it expected much greater effectiveness in preventing hospitalisation and death.

PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: “This study provides reassurance that 2 doses of either vaccine offer high levels of protection against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant.

“We expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospitalisation and death, so it is vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “This new evidence is groundbreaking – and proves just how valuable our COVID-19 vaccination programme is in protecting the people we love.

“We can now be confident that over 20 million people – more than one in three – have significant protection against this new variant; and that number is growing by the hundreds of thousands every single day as more and more people get that vital second dose. I want to thank the scientists and clinicians who have been working around the clock to produce this research.

“It’s clear how important the second dose is to secure the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 and its variants – and I urge everyone to book in their jab when offered.”

Tags: Asia | Flu & Viruses | NHS | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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