Coronavirus: Spread of COVID-19 variants discussed by expert
The suggested increase in vaccination would be double the Government’s current target. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine made the projection in a new paper shared to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
On Monday, the UK recorded its highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with 41,385 new cases.
There are also now more patients in NHS hospitals in England with COVID-19 than there were during the April peak in the first wave.
Public health officials have warned about the dangers presented by the rising infection level.
According to the BBC, Dr Yvonne Doyle medical director at Public Health England, said: “This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.”
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She added: “Despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon.”
Around 200,000 people a week have been vaccinated across the UK.
But Government sources have reportedly told he Telegraph that a volunteer army will be delivering at least one million jabs a week by mid-January.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), however, have warned that it will not be enough to avoid a third wave of the virus that could be more deadly than the first.
In a paper, the LSHTM said: “The most stringent intervention scenario with Tier 4 England-wide and schools closed during January and two million individuals vaccinated per week is the only scenario we considered which reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave.”
The university’s projection comes as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be approved for use in the UK.
A decision will reportedly be made by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the coming days.
Trials of the Oxford vaccine have shown an efficacy rate of 90 percent when people were given half a dose and then a whole dose at least a month later.
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When two full doses were given to a patient at least a month apart, the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 62 percent.
When both these results were taken into account, the overall efficacy rate of the Oxford vaccine was 70 percent.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, told The Sunday Times: “We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else.”
He added: “I can’t tell you more because we will publish at some point.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine showed to be 95 percent and 94.5 percent effective respectively in trial results.
However, the Oxford vaccine is cheaper than the other two jabs and can be stored at a normal fridge temperature.
More areas of England are expected to be moving into Tier 4 this week when restriction reviews take place on Wednesday.
A Whitehall source told the Telegraph that the Government has not ruled out tougher new “Tier 5” restrictions which could see schools and universities close.
They also added that the prospect of a new national lockdown in January has also not been ruled out.
The source added, however, how in the “immediate future” the expansion of Tier 4 was more likely.
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