Covid vaccine: Is there a best vaccine? Can they become more effective?
Dominic Raab discusses UK's role in global vaccine distribution
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Covid vaccination programmes established in late 2020 have picked up significant momentum. The country’s health workers have delivered more than 15 million doses to priority cohorts. While most of these have been first doses only, they offer immunity of 70 percent or more.
Is there a best Covid vaccine?
Scientists have developed several different Covid vaccines, most of which use the same method.
They train mRNA to prime the immune system against the virus and minimise the number of cases.
The one exception is with AstraZeneca’s jab, which uses methods derived from a chimp adenovirus to deliver a similar reaction.
Although different, each of the vaccines provides effective protection days after delivery.
The initial dose is roughly 60 to 75 percent effective, increasing to 90 and 95 percent after a second.
The mRNA versions made by Moderna and Pfizer have the highest rates of 95 percent each.
Oxford’s jab is highly effective but lags behind the others at 90 percent.
These values mean comparatively little, as each jab provides a high level of protection.
They also help prevent the most severe cases of the disease responsible for killing people.
In a primary analysis of their Phase III trials, AstraZeneca found their jab was highly effective in preventing hospitalisation.
They found people who had the vaccine at full dose were protected from Covid’s severe effects 100 percent of the time.
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The values here mean AstraZeneca’s jab should keep people alive and out of the hospital.
Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President BioPharmaceuticals R&D at the company, 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.”
Can the Covid vaccines get more effective?
One concern with the currently available vaccines is whether they can effectively prevent infection from emerging variants.
Many of them have already proven able to do so, but doubts remain concerning whether they can provide the same protection.
Researchers have started developing Covid “booster” shots which would ultimately help increase efficacy.
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