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British Health Body Claims Two Shots Of Covid-19 Vaccine Effective Against India Variant

British Health Body Claims Two Shots Of Covid-19 Vaccine Effective Against India Variant
Health officials in the United Kingdom have said that the efficacy and effectiveness of a double dose of Covid-19 vaccines is almost the same for the fast spreading variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in India as it is for the dominant strain in Britain.
While describing the data to be ground breaking, Britain's health minister said that he was increasingly hopeful that the government would be able to lift more of the Covid-19 restrictions sometime next month.
The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech was found to be 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant after two weeks of a person taking the second dose, claimed a study conducted by the Public Health England.
In comparison, the same vaccine was found to be 93 per cent effective against the B.1.1.7 "Kent" strain which is the dominant Covid-19 variant of Britain.
The study also found that the two doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca was 60 pert cent effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Indian variant of the coronavirus while it showed a 66 per cent efficacy against the Kent variant, PHE said.
"I'm increasingly confident that we're on track for the roadmap, because this data shows that the vaccine, after two doses, works just as effectively (against the Indian variant)," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told broadcasters.
According to the plans drawn up by the British government, lifting of the remaining restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic is due to take place from June 21.
So far, the vaccination drive in Britain has been amongst the fastest in Europe but the program is currently facing a challenge from the fast spreading variant of the novel coronavirus that was found first in India.
In the seven days to May 22, there was a 10.5 per cent rise in the number of new Covid-19 infections in the country even though it was still only a fraction of levels seen earlier this year, showed data published on Saturday.
An acceleration of the remaining second doses of vaccine to the over 50s and people who are clinically vulnerable was ordered this month by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The first dose of boht the vaccines was found to be 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from B.1.617.2 after three weeks of administration which was lower than the 50 per cent effectiveness shown against the B.1.1.7 variant, PHE said.
That meant that it was "absolutely vital" for people to get both the doses of the vaccine, Hancock said.
There is a rising concern because of the spread of the Covid-19 infections caused by the variant first found in India and that has prompted Germany to announced that everyone entering the country form the United Kingdom will have to go through a mandatory quarantine for two weeks upon entering the country.
The existing Covid-19 vaccines could be less effective against the B.1.617.2 variant which is also being called the Indian variant,  the head of Germany’s public health institute said on Friday.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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