AstraZeneca vaccine: How much protection does the first Covid jab give?

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The UK is steaming ahead with the vaccine rollout programme, with nearly 17 million people vaccinated to date. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are currently being deployed. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has also approved the Moderna vaccine for use in the UK, with doses expected to arrive later in the year.

Who is being vaccinated now?

Earlier this month, ministers announced the Government had met its goal of offering all people in priority groups one to four their first vaccine dose by February 15.

The NHS is currently offering vaccines to people in groups one to six.

This includes care home residents and workers, frontline health and social care staff, the over 70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable, who make up the first four groups.

But the vaccination programme has now been extended to people over the age of 65 and people considered clinically vulnerable.

The Government is aiming to offer all people in the top priority groups a first vaccine dose by the end of April.

Group seven includes people over 60, while group eight includes people over the age of 55.

Group nine includes people over the age of 50 and after this group has been vaccinated the rollout will continue for the rest of the adult population.

How much protection does the first Covid jab give?

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine needs to be given in two doses to provide maximum protection.

But the first jab is thought to provide protection after the body has had time to build up an immune response.

Researchers believe people will have significant protection from the vaccine 22 days after the first dose has been given.

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Earlier this month, a paper published in The Lancet on Phase III clinical trials from the UK, Brazil and South Africa reported no severe cases and no hospitalisations after 22 days following the first dose being administered.

The trial also found the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provides 76 percent efficacy against symptomatic infection from day 22 to day 90 post-injection.

The study also found the vaccine is more effective if the second dose is administered 90 days after the first, rather than 28 days.

Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, and co-author of the paper said: “These new data provide an important verification of the interim data that has helped regulators such as the MHRA in the UK and elsewhere around the world to grant the vaccine emergency use authorisation.

“It also helps to support the policy recommendation made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for a 12-week prime-boost interval, as they look for the optimal approach to roll out, and reassures us that people are protected 22 days after a single dose of the vaccine.”

Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said: “This primary analysis reconfirms that our vaccine prevents severe disease and keeps people out of hospital.

“In addition, extending the dosing interval not only boosts the vaccine’s efficacy, but also enables more people to be vaccinated upfront.

“Together with the new findings on reduced transmission, we believe this vaccine will have a real impact on the pandemic.”

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