Today the vaccines minister has written that the vaccines being deployed across the UK appear to be working well against the Covid-19 variants currently here, helping to save lives and reduce pressure on our NHS.
Recent studies have shown that the vaccines being deployed right now across the UK appear to be effective against the variants currently dominant in the UK – with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine showing sustained protection of 76 per cent during the 3-month interval before the second dose.
And for other variants, even where a vaccine may have reduced efficacy in preventing infection, there may still be good efficacy against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death – this is vitally important for protecting our healthcare system.
Our scientists and medical advisors are now also working on the potential for new versions of existing vaccines to offer further protections against the variants – just last week we announced an agreement with the manufacture CureVac to allow new varieties of vaccines to be developed quickly and to procure 50 million doses of a new version of a vaccine, if it is required.
While it is right and necessary to prepare for the deployment of an updated vaccine, we can take confidence from the current roll out and the protection it will provide all of us against this terrible disease.
Thanks to the work that NHS staff and volunteers are doing, we are getting safer every day. But even though this programme is accelerating rapidly, this is still a lethal virus that is capable of causing devastation and disruption.
So while the vaccinators do their work, we must all keep following the steps that we know make a big difference: Hands, face, space, and if you have symptoms get a test.