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UK: 'More than enough' vaccines as herd immunity nears

UK has surpassed 6 million people being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with almost 32 million receiving first dose

Karim El-Bar   | 08.04.2021
UK: 'More than enough' vaccines as herd immunity nears

LONDON

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday that the UK had “more than enough” doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to administer to under-30s.

His comments to Sky News came after Wednesday’s announcement that Brits aged 18-29 would be given an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where possible due to possible links between the vaccine, jointly developed with Oxford University, and rare blood clots.

Hancock said: “There are 10.16 million people aged 18-29 in the UK, 1.6 million of them have already had their first jab. Anybody who's had the jab should continue with the second jab because there's no evidence of this effect after a second jab and we have more than enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to cover all of the remaining 8.5 million people aged between 18-29 if necessary.”

He stressed, however, that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still safe for all ages. “What we've learned in the last 24 hours is that the rollout of the vaccine is working, we've seen that the safety system is working because the regulators can spot even this extremely rare event -- four in a million -- and take necessary action to ensure the rollout is as safe as it possibly can be.

“And we are seeing that the vaccine is working. It's breaking the link between cases and deaths,” he said.

"You can see and be reassured by the fact we're taking an abundance of caution and we're making sure we're rolling this out in the safest way possible,” he added
Meanwhile, real-time modeling carried out by University College London found that the UK will reach herd immunity against COVID-19 on Monday.

By that date, the scientists said the number of people who are protected against the virus either through vaccination, previous infection, or natural immunity will reach 73.4%.

Herd immunity means the community has enough resistance to the virus that it drives down its spread.

UCL Professor Karl Friston said: “The herd immunity estimates surprised me. However, they are unremarkable when one considers that over 50% of adults have been vaccinated, around 42% of people have now been exposed to the virus and about 10% have pre-existing immunity.

“When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in terms of sterilizing immunity, this – according to the model – means about 70% of the population are immune. Based upon contact rates at the beginning of the pandemic and estimated transmission risk, this is nearly at the herd immunity threshold.”

The news comes as the UK surpassed 6 million people being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with almost 32 million receiving their first dose.

There were also 3,030 cases of people testing positive for the virus across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to over 4.37 million. There were a further 53 deaths, bringing the tally to 126,980.

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