How protective are COVID-19 vaccines against new variants?

May 23, 2021 06:51 PM AEST | By Kiran Murali
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  • A study by Public Health England says two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the B.1.617.2 variant.
  • Both the vaccines give similar protection against the strain first found in India and the one dominant in the U.K.
  • Germany has classified the U.K. as an “area of virus variants of concern.”

According to a new study by Public Health England, two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines give a high level of protection against the B.1.617.2 variant first found in India.

The study said the effectiveness of both the COVID-19 vaccines against the variant found in India and the B.1.1.7 variant, which is dominant in the U.K., are similar.  The study analyzed data from 1,054 people confirmed as having the B.1.617.2 variant.

The COVID-19 strain, first found in India, has caused serious concerns among the nations as India recently saw a rapid surge in COVID cases.

READ MORE: Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants as India reels under the deadly second wave

Earlier in May, the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there are more clusters of B.1.617.2 variant in the country, and it could be more transmissible than the previous one. Mr Johnson also said the U.K. would accelerate the remaining second doses to those over 50 years and those who are clinically vulnerable.

The Public Health England estimates that vaccination has prevented 13,000 deaths and around 39,100 hospitalizations in older people in England, up to May 9.

Meanwhile, Germany announced that it should impose travel restrictions on travelers from the U.K., starting from May 23, amid concerns over the local outbreak, including cases from the “more infectious” variant first found in India. Germany has classified the U.K. as an “area of virus variants of concern.”

On the other hand, Spain is all set to welcome tourist from Britain without a COVID test from May 24 onwards.

Source: Pixabay

How Effective Are Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca Vaccines

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 88 percent effective against the B.1.617.2 variant two weeks after administering the second dose, compared with 93 percent effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was 60 percent protective against the B.1.617.2 variant, compared with 66 percent effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.

A single dose of both the vaccines showed 33 percent effectiveness from B.1.617.2 variant after three weeks, compared with around 50 percent effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said the study also underlines the importance of a second dose.

READ MORE: Coronavirus Reaches Mt Everest, Nepal Worried About its Tourism Industry


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