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UK PM Boris Johnson promises daily vaccine updates as daily COVID-19 cases top 60,000 for 1st time

That means that nearly one in four of one of the most vulnerable groups will have in two-to-three weeks a significant degree of immunity, Johnson said.

January 06, 2021 / 09:12 AM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday promised to give daily updates on the country's vaccination programme to protect the most vulnerable groups from COVID-19 as the daily coronavirus infections hit a new record figure of 60,196 for the first time since the pandemic began last year.

Addressing a press briefing from 10 Downing Street here a day after he announced another nationwide lockdown to control the rapid spread of a new highly transmissible variant of the deadly coronavirus, Johnson revealed that the National Health Service (NHS) has completed vaccinating 1.3 million people with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs, and that rollout will continue to be further accelerated as the main route out of the lockdown.

That means that nearly one in four of one of the most vulnerable groups will have in two-to-three weeks a significant degree of immunity, Johnson said.

He reiterated an earlier hope that things will get better by the months of spring as by February 15 the NHS is committed to offering a vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups.

To help with meeting this target, he revealed that there are already 595 general practitioner (GP) led sites providing vaccines with a further 180 coming on stream later this week.

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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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Besides, there are also 107 hospital sites with a further 100 later this week. Seven vaccination centres will also be opening in places such as sports stadiums and exhibition centres from next week.

There will be long weeks ahead in which we must persevere with these restrictions but I want to give the British people the maximum amount of transparency possible with regards to the vaccine, he said, as he promised daily updates from Monday.

His briefing came as the UK registered 830 further coronavirus deaths, taking the death toll past 76,000.

According to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), one in 50 people in the country have got the virus, which is higher in some parts and lower in others.

"One in 50 really is quite a very large number indeed," said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, who joined Johnson at the briefing.

On Monday, Whitty joined CMOs from other parts of the United Kingdom to recommend that the COVID-19 threat level be increased from four to five the highest level, which resulted in nationwide lockdowns in England and Scotland.

Wales has been in a national lockdown since December 20 last year and Northern Ireland entered a six-week lockdown on December 26, 2020, and has plans to further tighten measures.
PTI
first published: Jan 6, 2021 09:05 am

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