A new study says both vaccines are highly effective against the B1617.2 strain, first identified in India, after the second dose.
According to a Public Health England (PHE) study, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective against the coronavirus variant first identified in India.
The Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective and the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective against the B1617.2 strain after the second dose.
Both vaccines were most effective against the so-called “Kent” strain – B.1.1.7, the UK-dominant COVID-19 variant – with 93% Pfizer effective, while the AstraZeneca jab was 66% effective. . point.
However, they were only 33% effective three weeks after the first dose.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the outcome as “innovative”, while PHE said it expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospital admission and death.
“This new evidence is innovative and demonstrates the value of our COVID-19 vaccination program in protecting the people we love,” Hancock said.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) called the B1617.2 strains a “variant of global concern.”
High levels of protection
The study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, found that both vaccines were effective against 33% of symptomatic diseases of strain B1617.2 three weeks after the first dose, in comparison with 50% against B.1.1. 7 cep.
About 12,675 sequenced cases of genomes were included in the analysis, but only 1,054 were of the variant identified in India. The study included data from all age groups beginning April 5 to cover the period since the strain appeared.
New PHE data show that there have been at least 2,889 cases of strain B1617.2 recorded in England from 1 February this year to 18 May.
Of these, 104 cases resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department, 31 required overnight hospital admission and six caused death.
According to the data, the most common strain in England is variant B.1.1.7, with 132,082 cases recorded during the same period. The virus has infected 4.46 million people and killed 128,000 people in the UK since it erupted last year.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of PHE immunization, added: “This study provides assurance that two doses of either vaccine offer high levels of protection against symptomatic disease of variant B1617.2.
“We hope vaccines will be even more effective in preventing hospitalization and death, so it’s vital to get both doses to get maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”
The fastest vaccination program in Europe
The analysis by PHE indicates that the vaccination program has so far prevented 13,000 deaths and some 39,100 hospital admissions in the elderly in England, as of 9 May.
According to government plans, the remaining coronavirus restrictions should be removed as of June 21st.
The latest figures show that more than 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Britain in Europe’s fastest vaccination program to date, but it has faced a new challenge since its release. of the variant first found in India.
Data released on Saturday showed that new COVID cases reported in the UK rose 10.5 per cent in the seven days to May 22, although a fraction of the levels seen earlier this year remained year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month ordered an extension of the administration of second-dose doses to people over the age of 50 and to those who are clinically vulnerable.
Concern over the rise in cases in Britain of the variant first found in India led Germany to say on Friday that anyone entering the country from the UK should be quarantined for two weeks in the arrival.