The UK government has launched a string of measures aimed at neutralising the threat of the new Omicron variant. The booster programme has been beefed up, with all adults over 18 now eligible to receive a booster vaccine. Although the UK has relatively high uptake rates, hesitancy persists. This is owing to fears about the possible side effects.
Vaccines included in the study were those produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Valneva and Curevac.
The study, which involved 2,878 adults over the age of 30, found that none of the seven vaccines posed safety concerns.
Fatigue, headaches, and pain at the injection site were the most common side effects, and were mostly reported in younger people.
A total of 912 participants experienced adverse events from their booster shot, with 24 severe events being reported during the study.
All seven vaccines boosted immunity when given 10 to 12 weeks after two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the study found.
All of the vaccines except Valneva’s boosted immunity in participants whose initial two doses were the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the study said.
In participants who had initially had two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, levels of spike protein-attacking antibodies were between 1.8 times higher (after Valneva) and 32.3 times higher (after Moderna) 28 days after their third shot, depending on the booster vaccine used.
In those whose first two doses were Pfizer-BioNTech, antibody level increases following the boosters ranged from being 1.3 times higher (after Valneva) to 11.5 times higher (after Moderna).
Booster programme – UK latest
As of 2 December, a total of 19.4 million people have had their booster or third doses in the UK. Fifty one million have had a first dose and 46.4 million have had a second dose.
In light of the new Omicron variant and following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the Government is expanding the booster programme to all adults over 18, with all those eligible being offered a top-up jab by the end of January, as well as halving the gap between doses to protect more people more quickly.
To speed up the vaccination programme, around 400 military personnel will be drafted in to support deployment, with 1,500 community pharmacy sites, additional hospital hubs, and pop-up sites opening in convenient locations across the country.
“Our priority remains to protect the most vulnerable first so everyone over the age of 40 who had their second dose at least three months ago will soon be able to book an appointment for their booster jab,” states the Government’s website.
Published at Mon, 06 Dec 2021 09:04:00 +0000