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Britain must vaccinate two million a week to prevent a third COVID-19 wave: Study

The UK has had more than 71,000 deaths from the coronavirus and has recorded over 2.3 million cases of COVID-19 infections as of late Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

December 29, 2020 / 08:19 AM IST
SII has been adding 40-50 million doses every month, and will be reaching production capacity of about 300 million doses by July 2021. (Image Source: Reuters)

SII has been adding 40-50 million doses every month, and will be reaching production capacity of about 300 million doses by July 2021. (Image Source: Reuters)

Britain must vaccinate two million people a week to avoid a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has concluded.

The UK has had more than 71,000 deaths from the coronavirus and has recorded over 2.3 million cases of COVID-19 infections as of late Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

"The most stringent intervention scenario with tier 4 England-wide and schools closed during January and 2 million individuals vaccinated per week, is the only scenario we considered which reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave", the study said.

"In the absence of substantial vaccine roll-out, cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths in 2021 may exceed those in 2020."

An accelerated uptake of two million vaccinated per week "is predicted to have a much more substantial impact", it added https://bit.ly/3o9l2MJ. The study has yet to be peer-reviewed.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers have said a variant of the coronavirus, which could be up to 70% more transmissible, was spreading rapidly in Britain, although it is not thought to be more deadly or to cause more serious illness.

That prompted tight social mixing restrictions measures for London and southeast England, while plans to ease curbs over Christmas across the nation were dramatically scaled back or scrapped altogether.

Media reports over the weekend said that the United Kingdom will roll out the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Jan. 4, with its approval by the country's medical regulator expected within days.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The British government said on Thursday that 600,000 people in the United Kingdom have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine since inoculations began.
Reuters
first published: Dec 29, 2020 08:16 am

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