science

UK hits target of offering first Covid jab to four most vulnerable groups


The UK government has reached its target of offering at least first vaccinations to the four groups of people in the UK seen as most vulnerable to coronavirus by mid-February, it has announced.

The vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, announced the milestone on Twitter.

Nadhim Zahawi
(@nadhimzahawi)

15,000,000! Amazing team ❤️ We will not rest till we offer the vaccine to the whole of phase1 the 1-9 categories of the most vulnerable & all over 50s by end April and then all adults. @NikkiKF @Emily_JR_Lawson @Comd101LogBde 💉💉💉 https://t.co/NqOZl5e0aG


February 14, 2021

The government has set a series of targets for offering vaccinations to a series of groups, with the priority order set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation.


This set out that the top four priority groups, in order, were older care home residents and relevant care staff; people aged 80-plus and frontline health and care staff; those aged 75 and over; and those aged 70 and over.

Pfizer/BioNTech

Country US/Germany

Efficacy 95% a week after the second shot. Pfizer says it is only 52% after the first dose but the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says this may rise to 90% after 21 days.

The UK has ordered 40m doses.

Doses Clinical trials involved two doses 21 days apart. The UK is stretching this to 12 weeks.

Oxford/AstraZeneca

Country UK

Efficacy 70.4% 14 days after receiving the second dose. May have up to 90% efficacy when given as a half dose followed by a full dose. No severe disease or hospitalisations in anyone who received the vaccine. There have been concerns it is less effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus.

The UK has ordered 100m doses.

Doses Two, four to 12 weeks apart

Moderna

Country US

Efficacy Phase 3 trial results suggest an rating of 94.1%.

The UK has ordered 17m doses, to be delivered in March or April

Doses Two, 28 days apart

Novavax

Country US

Efficacy Phase 3 trials suggest 89.3%.

60m doses ordered by the UK, with distribution expected principally in the second half of the year

Doses Two

Janssen (part of Johnson & Johnson)

Country US

Efficacy 72% in preventing mild to moderate cases in US trials but 66% efficacy observed in international trials. 85% efficacy against severe illness, and 100% protection against hospitalisation and death.

30m doses ordered by the UK

Doses: One, making it unique among Covid vaccines with phase 3 results so far


Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/X02520

The initial target was to offer first injections to care home residents and staff by the end of January, which was very nearly met, barring about 17,000 people. The next target was to complete the four groups by 15 February.

Ministers have subsequently said that the aim was to complete all nine of the top priority groups, which comprise phase one of the vaccination programme, before the beginning of May.

The next five groups are those aged 65-plus; those aged 16 to 64 with conditions that make them vulnerable; and then, in turn, people above 60, 55 and 50.


While no formal target has been set, the aim is to offer vaccinations to all adults by the autumn – although there might then need to be a third round of “booster” injections to combat vaccine resistance in new variants of Covid.

Ministers have said that so far, vaccine take-up in those aged 75 and over, and in care homes, has been more than 90%.





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