Matt Hancock hails ‘good news’ on the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first Covid vaccination to be approved for use in the UK in late 2020. The UK has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is a type of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. Other vaccines from Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Moderna have also been approved in the UK.
How does the Pfizer vaccine work?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is a form of mRNA vaccine.
The vaccine introduces genetic material into the body, which contains instructions to make the “spike” protein of Covid-19.
This prompts an immune response, meaning the body is equipped to fight a real infection in the future.
The Pfizer vaccine does not contain any live virus.
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How effective is the Pfizer jab after one dose?
According to data published by Pfizer in December 2020, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approximately 52 percent effective after the first dose.
The protection doesn’t start until at least day 12 after the first dose has been administered.
Evidence from clinical trials suggests the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 95 percent effective seven or more days after the second dose was administered.
People who have been vaccinated must still follow social distancing guidelines and lockdown rules.
The NHS website states the first dose of the Covid vaccines should give patients “good protection from coronavirus”.
The NHS said: “The 1st dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus.
“But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.
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“There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.”
The UK recently made the decision to prioritise administering first doses of the Covid vaccine, to provide some protection against coronavirus to as many people as possible.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) released a statement, explaining why the Pfizer/BioNTech second dose can now be given up to 12 weeks after the first dose is administered.
The statement’s conclusion reads: “Given the epidemiology of COVID-19 in the UK in late 2020 there is a need for rapid, high levels of vaccine uptake among vulnerable persons.
“The committee supports a 2-dose vaccine schedule for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines.
“Given the data available, and evidence from the use of many other vaccines, JCVI advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks for both vaccines.
“It can be assumed that protection from the first dose will wane in the medium term, and the second dose will still be required to provide more durable protection.
“The committee advises initially prioritising delivery of the first vaccine dose as this is highly likely to have a greater public health impact in the short term and reduce the number of preventable deaths from Covid-19.”
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