How protective are COVID 19 vaccines against new variants?

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 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.

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.

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.

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