Vaccines 'almost certainly less effective' against Covid variant found in India: UK expert - (The Economic Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • A scientist who advises the UK's vaccination programme said the vaccines being administered to protect against COVID-19 are "almost certainly less effective" against preventing transmission of the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India, reported The Economic Times.

  • Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said it was important to approach the easing of lockdown in England with "utmost caution" as it remains unclear exactly how much more transmissible the variant detected in India is.

  • However, he reiterated that while "the vaccines may be less effective against mild disease…we don't think they're less effective against severe disease. But in combination with being less effective against mild disease, they're almost certainly less effective against transmission… We don't know how much more transmissible it is yet."

  • Under the UK's action plan laid out to tackle the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) first identified in India, all over-50s and the most vulnerable groups are to be offered their second COVID-19 vaccine dose earlier than scheduled.

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