UK 'must be cautious' of new coronavirus variants says expert
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Israel has given at least one COVID-19 jab to over half its population, more than any other country in the world. The UK is also surging ahead with over 27 vaccines per 100 people, more than four times the EU average.
Unlike many EU countries, Britain decided to increase the time between vaccine doses to maximise the number of people receiving a jab.
Data from Israel, which is using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, indicates significant protection against infection after the first jab.
A major peer-reviewed study covering 1.2 million people, conducted between December 20 and February 1, has given unprecedented knowledge of vaccine effectiveness.
It found the Pfizer vaccine provides 57 percent protection within 14-20 days of the first dose being administered.
This rises to 94 percent seven days after the second dose is injected.
The UK is using a mixture of Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines with more brands expected to become available shortly.
Research published earlier this month by Oxford scientists found the AstraZeneca vaccine is 76 percent effective at blocking infections after a single dose for three months.
The paper on Israel’s vaccine programme was published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
In total Israel has vaccinated more than half its population, with around 30 percent having received two doses.
This success allowed the country to begin unlocking earlier this month.
Theatres, cinemas and museums have been opened for up to 300 people though they must have a “green pass” to confirm they’ve been vaccinated.
For outside cultural events this rises to 500, though restaurants and cafes remain takeaway only.
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Boris Johnson has ordered a review into whether vaccine passports could “play a role” in reopening British society.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Ben Neuman, a Texas A&M University virologist, said the Israeli data indicates the pandemic could be brought under control.
He commented: “The fact that the vaccines worked so well in the real world really does suggest that if the nations of the world can find the will, we now have the means to end COVID-19 forever.”
The Government hopes to end all social contract restrictions for England on June 21, though this could be delayed if the vaccine programme falls behind or there is another surge in cases.
On Thursday the UK announced another 448,962 people have received their first Covid jabs.
Fury is growing across the EU at the European Commission’s failure to obtain sufficient quantities of approved vaccines.
The Commission didn’t make an order for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab until three months after the UK.
It threatened to ban vaccine exports, creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but stepped back following outrage in London and Dublin.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has insisted the EU is “catching up” with Britain on vaccinations, though the data doesn’t support this.
In total the UK has recorded more than 120,000 coronavirus deaths, more than any other European country.
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