Vaccine strategy needs rethink after resistant variants emerge, say scientists
In case you missed this earlier, leading vaccine scientists are calling for a rethink of the goals of vaccination programmes, saying that herd immunity through vaccination is unlikely to be possible because of the emergence of variants like that in South Africa.
The comments came as the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca acknowledged that their vaccine will not protect people against mild to moderate Covid illness caused by the South African variant. The Oxford vaccine is the mainstay of the UK’s immunisation programme and vitally important around the world because of its low cost and ease of use.
The findings came from a study involving more than 2,000 people in South Africa. They followed results from two vaccines, from Novavax and Janssen, which were trialled there in recent months and were found to have much reduced protection against the variant – at about 60%. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have also said the variant affects the efficacy of their vaccines, although on the basis of lab studies only.
All the vaccines, however, have been found to protect against the most severe disease, hospitalisation and death: