South Africa variant: Boris Johnson ‘confident’ Covid jabs effective in protecting Britons

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Boris Johnson sought to reassure Britons about the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines after South Africa announced they would halt the distribution of the AstraZeneca jab. The move came after a report suggested the vaccine is not 100 percent able to combat the South African variant that is most prominent in the country. The Prime Minister said on Monday that he was confident that both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines helped prevent death and grave illness, and that medicine was slowly gaining the upper hand over the novel coronavirus.

“We think that both the vaccines that we’re currently using are effective in, as I say, in stopping serious disease and death,” Johnson told reporters.

“We also think in particular in the case of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that there’s good evidence that it is stopping transmission, as well, I think 67% reduction in transmission.”

“They remain a massive benefit to our country and the population,” he said when asked about AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

“I’ve no doubt that vaccines generally are going to offer a way out. And with every day that goes by, you can see that medicine is slowly getting the upper hand over the disease.”

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The coronavirus has killed 2.3 million people and turned normal life upside down for billions but new variants have raised fears that vaccines will need to be tweaked and people may have to have booster shots.

Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford said in a prior-to-peer analysis that the AstraZeneca vaccine provided minimal protection against mild or moderate infection from the South African variant among young people.

“This study confirms that the pandemic coronavirus will find ways to continue to spread in vaccinated populations, as expected,” said Andrew Pollard, chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial.

“But, taken with the promising results from other studies in South Africa using a similar viral vector, vaccines may continue to ease the toll on health care systems by preventing severe disease.”

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