The level of immunity offered by a single dose of any of the COVID vaccines could be as low as 33%, a medical chief has warned.
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said he was reviewing data from a study conducted in Israel that appears to suggest that two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine are needed before high levels of immunity. Can be reached.
At the end of December, the JCVI, which advises the government on vaccine deployment, reported that the Pfizer vaccine was “about 90% effective”, starting 14 days after the first dose.
He also claimed that “the short-term protection against the first dose is very high”.
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine are administered to people at Clalit Health Services in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Getty)
But Harnden said on Sunday that the Israeli study indicated that immunity after a first dose could be as low as 33%.
“The Israeli data is preliminary data, it involves PCR tests, which are of course asymptomatic cases as well as symptomatic cases,” he said.
“They didn’t follow up for more than three weeks and the statistical methods they used are unclear.”
He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday: “We will be looking at this in detail, but for now, our clear goal is that the delayed second dose strategy is going to save many lives nationwide.
Harnden predicted there would be a sharp drop in hospitalizations and deaths a few weeks after the first four priority groups were offered their first dose of the vaccine.
“I am confident the government has secured enough vaccine and provided the manufacturers can keep up with the orders then we will see a good supply.”
Read more: Medical chief criticizes people for skipping vaccine queue
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that three-quarters of people over 80 in the UK had now received their first stroke, with a similar percentage received by people in nursing homes.
But Harnden warned people could end up needing an annual coronavirus vaccine to keep up with variations in the virus.
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“I think we have to get used to it,” he said.
“We live in a world where the coronavirus is so widespread and rapidly changing that there are going to be new variants appearing in all kinds of different countries.”
He added, “We might well be in a situation where we need to have an annual coronavirus vaccine, much like we do with the flu vaccine, but the public should be reassured that these technologies are relatively easy to modify and modify, so once we have found the predominant strains the vaccines can be modified…
“It is really good news that these vaccines that we deliver appear to be effective against the major strains in circulation and variant strains in the UK at this time. “
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