5 million within the U.Ok. have gotten a vaccine and officers trace the variant could also be extra lethal, although it’s too quickly to inform.
The UK has been reporting alarming coronavirus deaths for weeks, hospitals continue to fill and fears that it will take months to control the spread of a more communicable variant, first spotted in the Kent area of England last year, have risen.
At a news conference on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new variant could also be linked to a slightly higher probability of death, although he admitted it was too early to be sure and his own scientific advisers urged restraint on the interpretation preliminary evidence.
Patrick Vallance, the government’s main scientific adviser, said the data suggesting an increase in the risk of death among those infected with the new variant is preliminary and based on small numbers. The absolute risk of dying from Covid-19 remains low.
“This evidence is not yet strong, a number of different pieces of information are coming together to support this,” Vallance said.
Speaking of the country’s overburdened National Health Service, Mr Johnson said, “It’s largely the impact of this new variant that means the NHS is under such intense pressure.”
But as the UK’s leading health authorities have warned of gloomy weeks, the latest vaccination numbers offer a glimmer of hope: Almost 5.5 million people received an initial dose of vaccine in the UK on Friday, according to government figures. That is around 8 percent of the population.
For comparison, the United States vaccinated around 4.5 percent of its population, and most European countries vaccinated less than 2 percent.
In the UK, fewer than 500,000 people have had a second injection as the National Health Service prioritizes the first injections and gives the second doses up to 12 weeks after the first. UK chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Astra Zeneca vaccines offered “a large majority of protection”.
The UK has reported its highest daily death toll since authorities put new lockdown restrictions in England this month. The country remains one of the hardest hit in Europe. and authorities have said England’s lockdown could remain in place throughout the spring.
“We will have to live with the coronavirus for a long time,” Johnson said on Friday.
Answers to your vaccine questions
If I live in the US, when can I get the vaccine?
While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary from state to state, most doctors and residents of long-term care facilities will come first. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help.
When can I get back to normal life after the vaccination?
Life will not return to normal until society as a whole receives enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries have approved a vaccine, they can only vaccinate a few percent of their citizens in the first few months. The unvaccinated majority remain susceptible to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show robust protection against disease. However, it is also possible for people to spread the virus without knowing they are infected because they have mild or no symptoms. Scientists don’t yet know whether the vaccines will also block the transmission of the coronavirus. Even vaccinated people have to wear masks for the time being, avoid the crowds indoors and so on. Once enough people are vaccinated, it becomes very difficult for the coronavirus to find people at risk to become infected. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve this goal, life could approach a normal state in autumn 2021.
Do I still have to wear a mask after the vaccination?
Yeah, but not forever. The two vaccines that may be approved this month clearly protect people from contracting Covid-19. However, the clinical trials that produced these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without experiencing a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensively when the vaccines are introduced. In the meantime, self-vaccinated people need to think of themselves as potential spreaders.
Will it hurt What are the side effects?
The vaccine against Pfizer and BioNTech, like other typical vaccines, is delivered as a shot in the arm. The injection is no different from the ones you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported serious health problems. However, some of them have experienced short-lived symptoms, including pain and flu-like symptoms that usually last a day. It is possible that people will have to plan to take a day off or go to school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system’s encounter with the vaccine and a strong reaction that creates lasting immunity.
Will mRNA vaccines change my genes?
No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to boost the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slide inside. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus that can stimulate the immune system. At any given point in time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules that they produce to make their own proteins. As soon as these proteins are made, our cells use special enzymes to break down the mRNA. The mRNA molecules that our cells make can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell’s enzymes a little longer, so the cells can make extra viral proteins and trigger a stronger immune response. However, the mRNA can hold for a few days at most before it is destroyed.
The situation is so bleak that, according to UK news reports, authorities are considering offering anyone who tests positive for the virus £ 500 (around $ 680) to stay in quarantine for the full 10 days, which many are currently not doing.
There are also fears that cuts in vaccine deliveries from Pfizer, which is converting a large production facility in Belgium, could slow the vaccination campaign and that fluctuations in vaccination rates could put some areas of the country at a disadvantage.
In the UK, a racetrack, rugby fields and religious buildings have been converted into vaccination centers, and shots are being fired in 1,200 hospitals and doctors’ offices. More than two million people have been vaccinated in the past seven days, twice as many as two weeks ago.
At that rate, the UK could still miss its target of vaccinating 13.9 million people by mid-February, but authorities have said they can meet the target if they keep up the pace.
Mr Johnson was cautious about the vaccine launch Friday, recalling that a successful launch of the vaccine alone could not defeat the virus. “It depends on everyone doing the right thing and avoiding transmission,” said Johnson.
The encouraging vaccination numbers are in stark contrast to the sluggish rollouts in other parts of Europe. Several leaders expressed frustration on Thursday, and members of the European Union have urged bloc authorities to speed up vaccine delivery.
Government officials in Romania and Poland said Pfizer cut the amount of vaccine doses shipped to their countries in half, and Italian officials threatened legal action against the US vaccine maker.
“The heads of state and government want vaccination to be accelerated,” said Charles Michel, President of the European Council, the group of EU heads of state and government.
In the UK, Whitty said more vaccines and antiviral drugs will be launched later this year. “I don’t think this virus is going anywhere,” said Mr. Whitty. “It will probably be there forever, but it is controlled.”
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