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Oxford vaccine could substantially cut spread

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could lead to a "substantial" fall in the spread of the virus, say scientists.

The impact of Covid vaccines on transmission has been a crucial unknown that will dramatically shape the future of the pandemic.

The study, which has not been formally published, also showed the vaccine remained effective while people waited for a second dose. It was 76% effective during the three months after the first shot. 

The UK, amid global debate and in sharp contrast to other countries, is prioritising giving the first dose to as many people as possible. The idea is to save more lives by giving more people some protection, but it means people will have to wait around three months for the booster instead of three weeks.

This study - on 17,000 people in the UK, South Africa and Brazil - showed protection remained at 76% during the three months after the first dose. This rose to 82% after people were given the second dose.

Prof Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said: "These new data provide an important verification of the interim data that was used by more than 25 regulators including the MHRA and EMA to grant the vaccine emergency use authorisation."

"It also supports 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 rollout."

The report does not tackle the impact of the new variants on how well the vaccines work.

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Source: BBC News, 2 February 2021




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