- The prospects for ending all coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June are “looking good” as long as people are careful.
- While other scientists said the latest variant could spread widely even with high vaccination coverage and the public were urged to get second shots.
- Scientists are anxious about the low efficacy of one dose of the Covid vaccines against the so-called India variant, B.1.617.2.
A recent news article published in The Guardian reveals that the chance of England Covid restrictions ending on 21 June ‘looking good’.
Public Health England
Late on Saturday evening, a paper from Public Health England revealed that vaccine efficacy after one dose drops from 50% against the Kent variant B.1.1.7 to 33% against the India variant.
“What is clear from this research is that the main thing we can do to reduce the spread of this variant is to ensure that we get our second dose of whatever vaccine we had for our first injection,” said Prof Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia.
The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine increases efficacy to 88% and AstraZeneca’s to 60% – although that is expected to rise as more time elapses after the vaccination. Hunter said it was likely that booster doses would be needed in the autumn.
Harries said it was especially important for people in areas with higher numbers of infections of the new variant to carry on social distancing and testing.
New popularity of the NHS app
The new popularity of the NHS app was a cause for celebration, the Department of Health suggested.
The NHS app pre-existed the pandemic, having been launched in January 2019, and already allows people to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions.
It is not the same as the Covid contact tracing app. For the last week, those who have it on their smartphone have also been able to display their vaccination status.
4.8 million registered users
The app has 4.8 million registered users, which is a very small proportion of users of the NHS.
But Matt Hancock was happy people were also accessing the other functions of the app.
Over four days last week, 11,483 people registered their willingness to become an organ donor on it – 10 times the number who registered in April.
Nearly 90,000 prescriptions were ordered and more than 8,000 GP practice appointments booked.
The Department of Health
Meanwhile, in an effort to increase the numbers of people self-isolating, the Department of Health announced on Sunday that it will invest £12m in pilot schemes in nine areas of England: Newham; Yorkshire and Humber; Blackburn & Darwen and Blackpool in Lancashire; Greater Manchester; Cheshire and Merseyside; Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney; Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland, and Somerset.
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Source: The Guardian