Covid: Surge vaccinations could be used to tackle Indian variant

BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS

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Three types of the Indian variant have been identified in the United Kingdom, one of which is a variant of concern.

The jabs are to be offered to people in and around Blackburn and Darwen.

The prime minister has refused to rule out local lockdowns in a bid to combat new coronavirus strains, after saying he is "anxious" about a "variant of concern" first identified in India.

A council spokeswoman said a meeting was due to be held later before more details about the vaccination programme would be released.

Research by Oxford University, which involved almost 19,000 adults in the United Kingdom, has indicated that one in 10 people remains sceptical about getting a coronavirus vaccine.

Study leader Daniel Freeman, a professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, said: "Much of the official messaging around Covid-19 vaccination draws on the idea of collective responsibility - that it benefits all of us to get the jab".

Asked if local lockdowns were possible, Prime Minister Johnson said: "There are a range of things we could do, we want to make sure we grip it".

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"If we have to do other things, then of course the public would want us to rule nothing out".

PHE said there is now no evidence to suggest that the new Indian variant is more serious than previous mutations, nor is there evidence which indicates that this version of the Indian variant is resistant to current vaccines.

It is thought the Indian variant of coronavirus is the main contributor to the country's deadly new wave of coronavirus, though experts in the United Kingdom believe current coronavirus vaccines do protect against it.

In the latest weekly figures, the town recorded the third highest infection rate in England, with an 89% jump in cases compared to the previous week.

As with other areas, mass testing is due to be deployed in hotspots, and there are early indications health teams will be stepping up the vaccination rollout.

"There is now no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of mortality".

Hospital admissions do not seem to have increased in line with cases, and the area hasn't seen a death with coronavirus for the past six weeks.

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On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency said it was "pretty confident" that vaccines now in use would be effective against the Indian variant - a view echoed by some British scientists.

"Scientists on Sage will make their assessments, they will report that to Government, and we will make decisions based on the data and the evidence that they provide".

"The vaccines don't 100% prevent infection for people", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Foreign minister James Cleverly said the government makes decisions based on data.

"So even the regular virus can infect people who have been vaccinated and sometimes you do get reinfection".

"There are no plans to reintroduce tiering measures, like I say we have got a raft of measures available to us which are already in place, with regards local testing, surge testing and tracing". "We keep learning this lesson, but we know that this will be the case".

Prof Naismith said he did not believe local restrictions would work to contain the variant, adding: "When we tried locally having different restrictions in different regions that didn't really make any difference".

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But there are still many unknowns around the impact on diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, she noted. The list includes the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Japan.


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