UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures
The research, led by Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics, found that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab offers the same level of protection as the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after four to five months, despite initially being less effective.
Although Pfizer’s high initial effectiveness of 93 per cent dropped over time, the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness remained largely the same at about 71 per cent, the researchers said.
Organisers have so far registered 74 cases linked to the Paralympics – mostly with staff and contractors – but insisted that no cases of Covid had been found among athletes.
Covid hospital patient numbers hit five-month high in England
More coronavirus patients are currently in hospital in England than at any other time in the last five months, according to NHS data.
Analysis by the PA news agency showed that more than 5,500 people with Covid-19 were in hospital, a jump of 9 per cent from last week, but numbers remain low compared to the peaks of the UK’s first and second waves of the virus.
Our reporter, Joanna Taylor, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan19 August 2021 08:15
You can find more comments below from Professor Adam Finn on the effectiveness of the UK’s Covid vaccination campaign:
Conrad Duncan19 August 2021 08:05
Experts to meet today to discuss potential Covid vaccine booster campaign
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is meeting this morning to discuss the possibility of a vaccine booster campaign as experts hope to decide who might “really need” a third dose of a Covid jab, a government adviser has said.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the JCVI, said it was not clear whether a booster jab for all people over a certain age would “make very much difference”.
“I think at this point we need to focus on individuals who are more likely, if you like, to get sick again if they’ve not got a booster,” Professor Finn told BBC Breakfast.
“And in fact we’ll be having a JCVI meeting this morning to discuss exactly that.
“So, trying to identify the people who are really at risk and really need that third dose.”
He added: “I think it’s less clear really whether a third dose in a more general way, for sort of all people above a certain age, is really going to make very much difference.
“But at this point I think the main message is that the direct protective effects of these vaccines is excellent i.e. if you get the vaccination you’re in a much better place in terms of getting sick.
“But the ability of the programme to actually stop the virus from circulating around in the population is less good than we’d hoped.”
Conrad Duncan19 August 2021 07:59
Covid vaccines remain effective against Delta after months, major study finds
Two doses of a Covid vaccine remains an effective way to protect against the Delta variant of coronavirus, with similar levels of effectiveness for the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech jabs after four to five months, according to the largest study of its kind.
The research, led by Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics, found that Pfizer’s effectiveness dropped over time from 93 per cent (two weeks after the second dose) but still remained at high levels.
However, the AstraZeneca jab’s effectiveness remained largely the same as two weeks after the second dose at 71 per cent.
Although there is insufficient data for Moderna, researchers believe it is “almost certainly at least as good as the others”.
The findings came from analysing 2.5 million test results from 743,526 participants in the ONS’ Covid-19 household-infection survey.
Despite the drop in efficacy for the Pfizer jab, Professor Sarah Walker, from the University of Oxford, said there was no cause for alarm as “when you start very very high, you’ve got a long way to go”.
“The World Health Organisation set the bar [for effectiveness] at 50 per cent and we’re way above that,” Professor Walker said.
“Both of these vaccines are still doing very well against Delta.”
Conrad Duncan19 August 2021 07:45
First Covid-19 case detected in Paralympic Village in Japan
The first case of Covid-19 infection has been detected in the Paralympic Village, just days before the Games start.
Organisers have so far registered 74 cases linked to the Paralympics — mostly the Games staff and contractors.
However, officials said on Thursday that so far no cases of Covid-19 infections have been found among the athletes in the Village.
The Paralympics open on 24 August with around 4,400 athletes from approximately 160 teams.
Japan is battling a record number of coronavirus cases as Osaka, Hyogo and other prefectures besides Tokyo are all reporting record caseloads.
According to the national broadcaster NHK, the number of daily infections reached a record 23,917 in the country.
Reports said that more than 80 per cent of Tokyo’s critical care beds are occupied just days before the Games begin.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 06:52
Australia records the worst day of Covid-19 pandemic amid Delta-variant outbreak
Australia recorded the highest number of Covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic amid a Delta variant outbreak in the country.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that NSW has recorded 681 new infections in Sydney. Victoria state recorded 57 new infections — more than double from the previous day, and its highest tally since September.
These numbers in Australia’s two most populous states “surpasses the nation’s previous high, recorded in early August 2020,” officials said.
Meanwhile, Melbourne is under the sixth lockdown since the pandemic began last year.
Less than 22 per cent of Australians are fully inoculated and about 40 per cent have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 06:30
US likely to recommend booster doses for Pfizer, Moderna vaccines in September
In the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended Covid-19 vaccine booster doses for all adults on Wednesday.
The health agency also noted that the protection offered by the Covid-19 vaccines “wanes over time.”
The officials added that due to the dominance of the Delta variant in the country, the protection offered by the vaccines was diminishing.
A statement by the department of health and human services said: “Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout.”
The statement added: “For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.”
But the government has said that it will administer vaccine booster doses only after the Food and Drugs Administration conducts an independent assessment of Pfizer and Moderna third doses.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 06:18
Covid vaccines for children in India by September, says senior official
A senior official from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has said that the Covid-19 vaccine for children in India shall be ready by September.
Priya Abraham, ICMR’s National Institute of Virology revealed that trail results shall be available “very soon” and “these will be presented to the regulators. So, by September or just after it, we may have Covid-19 vaccines for children.”
Currently, there are two vaccines that have been tested among children — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D.
525 volunteers in the age group of 12 – 18 were included in the trials for Covaxin and for ZyCov-D’s trials, 1000 volunteers were tested.
So far, In India, only about 13 per cent of the adult population is fully inoculated and 47 per cent has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 05:51
Study reveals blood clotting may be responsible for long Covid syndrome
A study has revealed that patients battling long Covid-19 syndrome have a “higher measure of blood clotting” which may explain their persisting symptoms of fatigue.
The study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis found that “clotting markers were significantly elevated in the blood of patients with long Covid syndrome.”
It also said that clotting markers were higher in patients who required hospitalisation with their initial Covid-19 infection.
Helen Fogarty, the study’s lead author said that “Because clotting markers were elevated while inflammation markers had returned to normal, our results suggest that the clotting system may be involved in the root cause of long Covid syndrome.”
Experts said that understanding the root cause of long Covid syndrome is the first step towards developing effective treatment.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 05:26
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday 19 August 2021.
Maroosha Muzaffar19 August 2021 04:53