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Third shot of AstraZeneca jab ‘could be effective booster without any tweaks'

A third shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine could be an effective booster jab without any tweaks being needed, new research has found.

An Oxford University study found that giving people a third dose more than six months after their second led to a substantial rise in antibodies and increased the body’s T-cell ability to fight coronavirus, including its variants.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said it is not yet known whether people will need a booster shot in the autumn but the new data shows the existing vaccine could be effective.

Two jabs cut a person’s risk of falling seriously ill to covid by around 90% and Professor Pollard admitted it is ‘difficult to say’ whether a third dose could add a few more percent.

But he added: ‘Boosters are much more about if protection gets lost over time – and we don’t know that – but if it does, could you boost? And the answer to that from these data is yes, you could.

‘There’s no indication today that we need boosters. It is something where we need to keep looking at the data and make decisions as the months go by, about whether that protection that we have is lost.’

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