BATTLE OF THE INDIAN SUMMER
Sunday People|May 23, 2021
Scramble to give second jabs
John Siddle

THE battle is on to give people two coronavirus jabs after scientists revealed last night that a double dose is highly effective against the new mutant Indian strain.

Two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca deliver only slightly less protection than against the dominant Kent strain.

Public Health England revealed the good news as soldiers from the Royal Horse Artillery joined the fight against the Indian variant.

They went door to door with leaflets to encourage Covid vaccination uptake in the virus hot spot of Halliwell in Bolton, Lancs.

According to PHE, the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against symptoms of the variant after a second shot, compared with 93% against the Kent strain.

The research – which came as England yesterday passed 50 million vaccinations – was heralded as groundbreaking by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The number of Brits who have had their first jab is nearly 38 million while 22.07 million have had two.

Mr Hancock said: “We can now be confident that over 20 million people – more than one in three – have significant protection against this new variant, and that number is growing by the hundreds of thousands every single day.”

But scientists last night sounded a note of caution as it emerged both vaccines are just 33% effective against symptoms of the Indian variant after one dose.

One shot of either vaccine delivers 51% protection against the Kent variant after three weeks.

Scientists called on ministers to speed up the jabs roll-out to get doses dished out as fast as possible.

Currently, the last remaining lockdown restrictions, including social distancing and masks, are set to be scrapped on June 21.

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