A second Covid vaccine is scheduled to be approved earlier this week for use in the UK, paving the way for the over-80s in Scotland to be mass vaccinated.
There are rumors that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be approved before Thursday – and probably as early as today or tomorrow.
Beginning Jan. 4, ministers are working on proposals to vaccinate the public with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. ‘Mass vaccination centers will be set up in sports stadiums and conference venues’ during the second week of January, according to news in the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times.
Last week, Scottish Health Minister Jeane Freeman said that if the vaccine is approved by the end of December, she hopes that “from Monday, January 11, we will be able to start vaccinating in primary care environments.”
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Pfizer’s Covid vaccine has now been vaccinated by more than 56,000 health and social care staff and elderly residents in care homes in Scotland since the UK became the first country in the world to authorize the vaccine.
For mass vaccination services, however, the Oxford vaccine was anticipated to be favoured because it is easier to transport and store.
It also ensures that the vaccine schedule, with millions of doses already on standby, can be scaled up and accelerated.
Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, called the vaccine a ‘winning recipe’ for its ability to prevent illness.
When it was discovered that the Oxford vaccine was only 62 percent effective when participants received two doses, however, puzzlingly, more than 90 percent effective when they received one and a half doses, the findings of the clinical trial created a stir – although there were no individuals over 55 in the latter category.
With two doses, both Pfizer and the U.S.-originated Moderna vaccine achieved more than 90 percent efficacy.
We assume we have discovered the winning formula and how to achieve efficacy that beats any other after two doses, Mr. Soriot said.
“I can’t tell you more because we will publish that at some point.”
We would have preferred a simpler set of results, but ultimately we assume these are positive, meeting the requirements set by regulators around the world,”We would have preferred a simpler set of results, but overall we think these are positive, they meet the criteria set by regulators around the world.”
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In the U.K. Owing to a rapid rise in cases in London and the southeast, attributed to a new mutant form of the virus suspected to be up to 70 percent more contagious and originating in Kent, the introduction of mass vaccination is under pressure to accelerate.
According to a random population survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the same variant has continued to spread, causing an estimated 38 percent of covid infections in Scotland in the week ending Dec. 18.
In the United Kingdom last week, in London and the north of England, two cases of a second, even more transmissible South African strain were also identified.
In France, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as in Australia, Japan and Lebanon internationally, the British version has now also been found.
Most cases have been linked with United Kingdom travelers, but one pair infected in Ontario, Canada, had no known travel background or high-risk connections to the United Kingdom.
In Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire, the British strain has been found and is suspected to be responsible for a “rapid increase” in cases in Dumfries and Galloway.
In Wigtownshire, health officials say 64 Covid infections have been confirmed, but they expect the outbreak to increase, while in Lower Annandale, at least one case of the variant has been detected.
Almost 40 percent of the cases of Covid in Scotland are related in the UK to the mutant strain.
A total of 740 new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Scotland in the last 24 hours, with a positive test rate of 12.3 percent – the highest rate in a single day since the measurement method was revised in August.
Mr. Soriot said work is ongoing to ensure that, even in people who have been infected with one of the versions, the Oxford vaccine will protect against disease.
So far, we believe that the vaccine is safe,” he said, “