COVID-19 vaccines are already easing the pandemic’s grip on Britain – less than two months after a grandmother became the first person in the world to get a jab.
As inoculations rack up, early data shows the crisis is easing and the number of people testing positive is already dropping, experts say.
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New research, which will be published within days, will also provide evidence that Brits are protected with just one dose, The Times reports.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has even suggested that delaying the second jab is a good idea – and is helping to build tolerance.
As of Saturday, 8.38 million Brits had received at least one coronavirus vaccine – 57 per cent of the first four priority groups.
The news comes as UK ministers blast EU officials for ‘Trumpian’ plans to block jabs from entering the country.
European leaders have backed down in the vaccine war after being met with fury over the “grave” bid to block jabs on the Irish border.
But they are still pushing for an extraordinary export ban that could stop 3.5 million lifesaving jabs ordered from a Pfizer BioNTech lab in Belgium from entering the UK.
Prof Harnden reassured those awaiting a jab that there’s no indication ‘mix-and-match’ jabs cause harm or reduce efficacy if second Pfizer doses aren’t available.
However, he admitted there’s still no clear evidence that the vaccines block transmission of the virus, and that data is unlikely to be available for months to come.
Protection is thought to take at least two weeks to build, but Prof Harnden said it was clear that mass vaccination is already working.
“The preliminary data indicate a vaccine effect from the first dose in both younger adults and in older adults over 80,” he told The Times .
“The effect seems to increase over time.
“It is possible that we may get stronger and better long-term protection by a delayed second dose.”
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Infection rates in the over-80s have fallen by 36 per cent this month. Other age groups have seen similar falls.
The biggest drop was recorded in people in their 20s. Rates in that age group have halved.
Prof Harnden said: “The data we have is still is very early because it only reflects approximately three or four weeks of the program and it’s mainly based on the Pfizer vaccine.”
But he said evidence shows it’s better to receive a second dose of a different vaccine than none at all.
“There aren’t results from studies on mixing vaccines at the moment, so we haven’t got evidence but there’s no theoretical evidence why you shouldn’t mix vaccines,” he said.
The JCVI will set out a priority list for the next phase of the vaccine rollout within weeks.
Teachers, police and people aged over 50 could be among the next priority group to be offered the drug.
Meanwhile, a new COVID jab is effective in 89.3 per cent of cases, it was revealed this week.
Sixty million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be produced on Teesside.
Trials for the one-shot US Janssen vaccine are also expected imminently, with Britain having ordered 30 million doses.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and is republished here with permission