Covid: Study on vaccine effectiveness released in UK
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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has admitted there is a possibility that a new variant of COVID-19, which could evade vaccines, may be identified in the future but is confident processes are in place to tackle any potential outbreak. He said: “Every time that the variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it.
“They are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine.
“We haven’t identified any yet but we believe that it is likely that one day, one of them will emerge.”
Speaking on Fox News, Mr Bourla added the company aims to create a modified version of the vaccine within 95 days of a new Covid strain being identified.
The Delta variant, first identified in India, has become the dominant strain of coronavirus around the world.
A Public Health England study in June suggested the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 percent effective against hospitalisation after two doses.
In the UK, people under the age of 40 receive either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Those under the age of 18 receive the Pfizer jab only.
On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted its full approval to the Pfizer jab, which has been deployed under emergency authorisation.
US President Joe Biden hailed the announcement as a “key milestone, in our fight against Covid”.
Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said: “The public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.
“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognise that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instil additional confidence to get vaccinated.”
A new study published by British scientists this week suggested protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab begins to fade within six months.
Scientists behind the Zoe Covid Study app said that the Pfizer jab was 88 percent effective at preventing infection a month after the second dose, but after five to six months the protection decreased to 74 percent.
For the AstraZeneca vaccine, effectiveness fell from 77 percent to 67 percent after four to five months.
Professor Adam Finn, member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), stressed the vaccines are still preventing serious illness and hospitalisation.
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Professor Finn added the experts would continue to assess the data amid the prospect of a third booster shot for the most vulnerable this autumn.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think the Zoe study, and a couple of other studies we recently had, do show the beginnings of a drop off of protection against asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease.
“But other studies are showing maintenance of good protection against serious illness and hospitalisation.
“So that’s encouraging actually that people who’ve had two doses are still very much well protected against serious illness, which is our main objective.
“But we do need to watch out very carefully to see if this waning begins to translate into occurrence of more severe cases because then boosters will be needed.”
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