The vaccines administered to protect against Covid-19 are almost less effective at preventing the transmission of the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India, said a leading British scientist who described the country’s vaccination program advise, said Saturday.
Professor Anthony Harnden, of the University of Oxford, who is the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said that it was important to approach the closure in England with the utmost caution, as it remains unclear exactly how much more transmissible is the variant found in India.
But he reiterated that so far there is no evidence of increased severity of disease, or that the specific mutation of the coronavirus eludes the vaccine.
‘The vaccines may be less effective against mild diseases, but we do not think they are less effective against serious diseases. But in combination with the fact that they are less effective against mild diseases, they are probably less effective against transmission, “Prof Harnden told the BBC.
“We do not yet know how much more transferable it is. All the evidence so far indicates that there is no evidence of increased severity of the disease or that it is evading the vaccine. At the moment, therefore, based on the evidence, we are doing the right thing, cool, calm to continue with Monday, but keep everything under scrutiny, ‘he said, referring to the next phase in easing the closure that is beginning. in England from Monday.
His comments follow the press conference of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street’s press conference on Friday night, when he focused on the ‘important unknowns’ associated with the B1.617.2 variant, which is believed to be largely behind India’s devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic stands. .
“We believe this variant is more transmissible than the previous one, that is, it passes more easily from person to person, but we do not know how much,” Johnson said.
‘I’m told that if we are just more transferable, we can proceed more or less as planned.
But if the virus is significantly more transmissible, we are likely to face difficult choices. We are going to learn a lot more about it in the coming days and weeks, ‘he said, in an indication that a planned timeline on June 21 for an end to all closure measures is likely to change.
He also pointed to the ‘good news’ that so far there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines administered by the National Health Service (NHS), including the use of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine in Covishield, India will be less effective in protecting people from serious diseases and hospitalization.
‘I therefore believe that we must rely on our vaccines to protect the public while keeping a close eye on the situation. “Because the race between our vaccination program and the virus will become much stricter,” he said.
Under the UK’s action plan set out to address the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) first identified in India, all 50s and most vulnerable groups must take their second dose of Covid-19 earlier than scheduled.
Appointments for a second dose of a vaccine are brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for these groups.
Those under the age of 50 will continue to receive their first dose, with their second dose at 12 weeks, as has been the implementation strategy so far.
‘We have implemented measures at a record pace to take advantage of this new variant and control the distribution. Everyone has a role to play in this endeavor – accept the invitation to take a moment when it comes, and if you live in one of the areas where we set up the booster test, do your free PCR test. Let’s work to fight it together, “said Matt Hancock, the British Minister for Health.
The move will be supported by targeted new activities to accelerate vaccine uptake among eligible groups in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, one of the 15 areas most affected by the B1.617.2 VOC.
Public health officials are backed by the military in some of these hotspots to spread door-to-door coronavirus tests as part of the drives.
“This step is a belt-and-prop approach to ensure that as many people as possible have the full protection that a vaccine offers. Make sure you get in touch with them,” said Nadhim Zahawi, British vaccination minister for vaccination.
The Government Scientific Group on Emergencies (SAGE) believes that B.1.617.2 VOC could be up to 50 per cent more transmissible than one recorded in the southern English region of Kent last year, which is the UK’s dominant tribe.
The latest data on the B1.617.2 variant, published by Public Health England (PHE) on Thursday, shows that the number of cases in the UK has risen from 520 last week to 1,333 cases this week.
Most cases are in the north west of England, and some in London.
Britain, which has recorded 128,000 deaths from coronavirus since the pandemic last year, has dropped sharply in recent days to new infections and daily deaths in single digits.
According to a pre-determined roadmap for the closure, most businesses will resume full activity from Monday.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also follow similar patterns, although the Scottish Government has kept the city of Glasgow and the northern part of Moray under restrictions due to rising R1.617.2 VOC cases.