Australia starts Covid-19 vaccination; Morrison among first to get a shot


PHE is also monitoring the real-world impact of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will publish these findings in due course - but early signals in the data suggest it's providing good levels of protection from the first dose.

Several provinces have moved to expand their vaccination offerings beyond the first priority groups in long-term care homes and front-line health workers thanks to the vaccine influx in recent two weeks.

The EAVE II project, carried out by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrew's and Public Health Scotland (PHS), analyzed a dataset covering nearly the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million.

Data on vaccine effect was gathered between 8 December 2020 and 15 February 2021. During this period, 1.14 million vaccines were administered in Scotland - 21% of the Scottish population. The AstraZeneca vaccine cut the risk by 94 per cent. They caution that the data does not allow for comparisons between the two.

"These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future. They also show the value of linked national data sets with academic research groups working closely with public health institutes".

"These are the data we need to see to estimate the potential for achieving herd immunity with vaccines", said Raina MacIntyre, professor of biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, in an email Monday. Vaccines that prevent illness and transmission of covid-19 will only make it harder for the coronavirus to spread as more of the population is vaccinated, and they should speed up the time it will take for life to return to some semblance of normalcy.

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And the government's scientific advisers are insisting that the country still needs to come out of lockdown slowly, despite the promising early data on vaccines.

The report said the warnings were not believed to be a fake distress call meant to simulate a shortage to spur people to get vaccinated.

In the over 80s, the jab is 57 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 three to four weeks after the first dose. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about 2 million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March. We must not be complacent, though.

While the European Union struggles with its own vaccination programme, experts have revealed the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca have been shown to reduce hospitalisation by more than 85 percent. Six weeks after vaccinations began for people over age 60, there was a 41% drop in confirmed COVID-19 infections and a 31% decline in hospitalizations, according the country's Ministry of Health.

It has rolled out vaccines at the fastest pace in the world, with around half of Israel's population having received the first dose of Pfizer's two-shot regime and around one-third having received both shots.

"Therefore, surely it is time for a vaccination strategy rethink with a shift to a model more like what the United Kingdom is perusing, which is now achieving good results, with more people receiving the first dose and spacing the second dose out more to, for example, nine to 12 weeks".

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