#AceHealthReport – Sept.15: We are committed to getting safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to the UK public. This means ensuring that existing COVID-19 vaccines can continue to be used in the most effective way possible…..
We confirmed on 9 September 2021 that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be used as safe and effective booster doses. This is an important regulatory change as it gives further options for the vaccination deployment programme which has saved tens of thousands of lives.
The regulatory decision followed a careful review of available data on safety and effectiveness of booster or supplementary vaccine doses by the MHRA and the independent Commission on Human Medicines(CHM, which advises the government.
We have also now looked at data for the Moderna vaccine to be used as a booster, and this has also been reviewed by the CHM experts who concluded that the Moderna vaccine can be used as a safe and effective booster dose, including in a half dose, which also gives an effective boost to antibodies.
The CHM took into account data on waning vaccine effectiveness after the second dose, providing important insights into potentially waning immunity.
The data reviewed showed that giving the booster jabs with flu vaccines at the same time is safe and does not affect an individual’s immune response to either vaccine. Therefore COVID-19 booster doses may be given at the same time as flu vaccines.
We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines and this surveillance includes booster jabs.
As with first and second doses, if anyone has a suspected side effect, please report it to us using our Yellow Card scheme.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.15: Thanks to the phenomenal success of the vaccination programme, the data continues to show the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths has weakened significantly…..
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports that GOVUK Prime Minister has set out the autumn and winter #COVID19 plan with emphasis also on a Plan B should cases overwhelm the NHS
Boosters, testing and refreshed public health advice will help keep the virus under control in the coming months
Plan B prepared to protect NHS if necessary
PM continues to warn the pandemic is not over and public need to remain vigilant
The Prime Minister has today set out the government’s plan to manage Covid throughout autumn and winter.
In England, the number of hospital admissions with Covid has remained relatively stable over the last month.
And although deaths increased at the beginning of the summer, they have remained far below the levels in either of the previous waves.
Over autumn and winter, the government will aim to sustain this progress through:
Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions
Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission
Supporting the NHS and social care
Advising people on how to protect themselves and others
Pursuing an international approach
Vaccines will continue to be our first line of defence. All those who were vaccinated during Phase 1 of the vaccine programme (priority groups 1 to 9) will be offered booster jabs from this month – to boost immunity amongst the most vulnerable groups during winter.
The Test, Trace and Isolate programme will continue its important work, with symptomatic PCR testing continuing throughout the autumn and winter.
Lateral flow tests will also remain free of charge but at a later stage, as our response to the virus changes, this will end and individuals and businesses will be expected to bear the cost. The government will engage widely on this before any changes are made.
The legal obligation to self-isolate for those who have tested positive and their unvaccinated contacts will continue, and the financial support payment for those self-isolating on certain benefits will continue in its current format until the end of March.
Our NHS will continue to get the support it needs, with an extra £5.4 billion recently announced for the next 6 months alone for the Covid response.
The public will be offered continued guidance on how to protect themselves and each other – including letting fresh air in, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed place where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, getting testing and self-isolating if required.
Our tough border policy will remain in place and genomic sequencing capability will be increased to help scientists update our vaccines to defeat new variants.
As the PM also set out, autumn and winter could pose renewed challenges and it is difficult to predict the path of the virus with certainty.
So as the public would expect, there will be a range of ‘Plan B’ measures kept under review to help control transmission of the virus while minimising economic and social damage.
Plan B would include:
Introducing mandatory vaccine only Covid status certification in certain, riskier settings.
Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings, such as public transport and shops.
Communicating clearly and urgently to the public if the risk level increases.
The government could also consider asking people to work from home again if necessary, but a final decision on this would be made at the time, dependent on the latest data – recognising the extra disruption this causes to individuals and businesses.
Ministers would only decide to implement these measures if necessary, and if a range of metrics and indicators mean the NHS is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.
Plan B recognises the success of our vaccination programme – meaning smaller interventions which are far less disruptive can have a much bigger impact on reducing the spread.
The Prime Minister committed to taking whatever action is necessary to protect the NHS, but stressed his belief that the combined efforts of the public and the vaccination programme mean we can avoid plan B and protect our freedoms in the coming months.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.13: The UK had about 100 million doses on order, after it increased its request by 40 million in February…..
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that UK has scrapped the #COVID19 vaccine deal with French firm Valneva the company said in a statement that the UK government served notice over allegations of a breach of the agreement, which it “strenuously denies” as the Valneva’s jab is still being tested in trials although regulators must be satisfied before the rollout of any vaccine, manufacturing at a site in West Lothian, Scotland, had already started……..
In a statement on its website, Valneva said: “Valneva SE, a specialty vaccine company, today announced that it has received a termination notice from the UK Government (HMG) in relation to the Supply Agreement for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, VLA2001: The contract provides HMG with the right to terminate. HMG has alleged that the company is in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, but the company strenuously denies this.”…….The firm said on Monday that results from its phase three trials were due later this year: It added: “Valneva has worked tirelessly, and to its best efforts, on the collaboration with HMG including investing significant resources and effort to respond to HMG’s requests for variant-derived vaccines.”………The company hopes that, dependent on the results of its continuing trials and sign-off from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, initial approval could still be granted in 2021: Its vaccine is expected to be given as two doses and contains a dead version of coronavirus that cannot cause disease, but should teach the body’s immune system how to fight it: But given that it is not yet approved for use by UK regulators, it will not affect the current rollout of jabs.
Speaking to BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland, Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We have enough supply even for a booster programme. I want to give absolute confidence to anyone listening that we have the supplies necessary to continue to vaccinate and particularly with a booster programme on the horizon.” …..Mr Yousaf said that while the announcement would be a big set-back for the Livingston plant, he would speak to Valneva to discuss its future.Valneva said on Monday that it would also look to other potential customers to ensure that the vaccines can still be used in the fight against the pandemic.The Scottish Health Secretary added that he was waiting for further information from the UK government over Valneva’s alleged failure to meet the terms of its contract.The Department for Health did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.11: A research team using data from Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv found that the rate of infection dropped 48 to 68 percent within a week to 13 days after the third shot of the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, the study found the infection rate dropped even further—70 to 84 percent—two weeks to 20 days after the additional dose, reports Jason Gale of Fortunemagazine.
#CoronavirusNewsDesksays an Israeli Study Finds Third Shot Provides Significant Boost in Covid-19 Immunity: When it comes to #COVID19 vaccinations, it appears the third time is a charm. A new Israeli study finds that people who get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have a significantly lower risk of infection from the coronavirus, including the more dangerous #Delta variant.
Israeli study finds infection rate drops dramatically with third Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination
Released on MedRxiv before submission to a peer-reviewed journal, the Israeli Ministry of Health study concludes there are short-term health benefits to receiving a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“Further studies are needed to determine the duration of protection conferred by the third dose and its effect on severe disease,” conclude the researchers, who include Daniel M. Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.
So far, more than 2 million of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have received the third dose, reports Dov Lieber of the Wall Street Journal. They include 70 percent of Israelis 60 or older and about half who are more than 50 years old.
“If your goal is to provide someone with high levels of short-term immunity, there’s no question that a good way to do this is … through a booster shot,” David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the research, tells Gretchen Vogel of Science magazine.
He cautions that more research is needed to find out how long the boosters last since this study only covers a short period of time.
Health officials in Israel also want to know more about the booster’s longevity. They say they don’t know yet if more than three doses will be needed to protect people, though they are moving ahead with plans to give the booster to as many people as possible as the Delta variant continues to spread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had wanted wealthier nations to hold off on administering boosters until people in poorer countries had received their first shots. However, Hans Kluge, WHO Europe’s regional director, is now saying the additional dose should be given to people who are most at risk.
“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster taking away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab,” he tells Hannah Knowles and Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post. “But it’s basically a way to keep the people safe, the most vulnerable. But at the same time, we need to share. So we need to do it all.”
#AceHealthReport – Sept.11: Maura McGoldrick, 21, received her first dose in London and her second in Glasgow, where she lives: However, her vaccination record only shows her having received one dose: The fourth-year student at the University of Edinburgh is concerned others may be similarly affected: The Scottish government said it had been working to “align” vaccination data from across the UK.
With some saying they are double-vaccinated but can’t show the proof’ as a number of people including this woman who was vaccinated in England and Scotland says she cannot get an accurate vaccination certificate because of issues with data-sharing across health services.
It has only recently been made available in the form of a QR code – despite a digital passport being widely used across Europe for months.
While travelling to London over the summer, Ms McGoldrick said she heard news of the push for young people to visit drop-in vaccine clinics – and attended a local clinic the following day.
She said the medics at the centre were unable to find her NHS records, but took her name and address and gave her a card which stated the batch of the vaccine she had just received.
Maura McGoldrickNHS England issue patients with cards detailing the vaccine batch number
To be safe, Ms McGoldrick said she quickly phoned NHS Inform to let them know she had received her first jab outside of Scotland and was told her records would be updated.
However, when she received her second dose in Glasgow in August, she was told the first dose was missing from her medical records.
She requested her vaccine certificate by post and, again, the document showed one dose issued in Glasgow.
“Because there have been other things going on, it’s just compounded general stress and been emotionally draining,” said Ms McGoldrick.
“I know rationally it’s not the end of the world and I’m very privileged even to just have the vaccine.
“But I’m now at the stage where there is no-one else for me to call, no more leads for me to pursue – it’s a bit of a hopeless situation.”
Ms McGoldrick has spent more than two weeks calling NHS Inform and her GP in order to resolve the matter: She said her GP managed to acquire information on her vaccination in London.However, she said NHS Inform staff told her there was no data-sharing mechanism between them and NHS England and they would need to request the information from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.The Scottish government then refuted the claim about data sharing, saying it has worked to “align” vaccination records from different UK nations.A spokesperson said: “We are aware some people have encountered problems but it’s untrue to say there is no data-sharing and we are working closely with other nations to resolve the issue. “We have a process in place for sharing data between England and Scotland and continue to work with international stakeholders to improve the transfer of data across borders.”Updated NHS Inform guidance contains guidance on what to do if you have been vaccinated abroad or have been vaccinated in different parts of the UK.” What does the NHS say about vaccine status and the Common Travel Area?
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde gave the BBC contradictory information, saying that NHS Scotland certificates “can only contain information on vaccines administered in Scotland”.It has not responded to a further query.Ms McGoldrick is currently trying to get the health board to share her GP’s information with NHS Inform – but said other people in her position may not be able to chase it up.She said: “Selfishly speaking, I’m trying to sort this out for myself but I’m in the fortunate position where I have time to chase this up.”
But I know there are other people in the same position – NHS Inform said they had other people call about this but assumed they sorted it out: People have probably just given up as it will take more time and effort that they have to give right now.”
Vaccine certificates with QR codes are widely used across European countries: A a result of her vaccine status issue, Ms McGoldrick has postponed her October plans to travel to Copenhagen – partly for leisure, but also to do work experience related to her university course in international relations.She said she thought she was doing the right thing by getting her vaccine as quickly as possible, but the bureaucracy and cancelled plans that resulted had been a “bit of a blow”.”It’s the fact that we’ve been cooped up for so long,” she said. “I felt when I got two doses I had done everything I was supposed to do.”
#AceDailyNews reports that GOVUK Parliament has voted on raising 36-billion investment through a ‘Social Care Levy’ to reform NHS & Social Care and how it will be spent and heres waht the PM & Tory MPs and others said to read below:
Responsible, fair, and necessary action taken to provide biggest catch-up programme in the history of the NHS and reform the adult social care system.
£36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years, to ensure it has the long term resource it needs.
Patients will benefit from the biggest catch-up programme in the NHS’s history, so people no longer face excessive waits for treatment.
Successive governments have failed to provide a long-term solution for social care. The system will finally be reformed, ending unpredictable and catastrophic care costs faced by thousands, and making the system fairer for all.
From April 2022, the government will introduce a new, UK-wide 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy, ringfenced for health and social care. This will be based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) and from 2023 will be legislatively separate.
To ensure everyone contributes fairly, all working adults, including those over the state pension age, will pay the levy and the rates of dividend tax will also increase by 1.25% to help fund this package.
Every individual will contribute according to their means. Those who earn more pay more, with the highest earning 14 per cent of people paying around half the revenues.
Employers, who benefit from a healthy workforce and a tax-payer funded health service, will be asked to contribute so the costs are more widely shared.
This will raise around £12 billion in extra funding per year, to be invested in frontline health and social care across the UK over the next three years.
The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS. The number of patients waiting for elective surgery and routine treatment in England is now at a record high of 5.5 million. This could reach 13 million by the end of the year if left unchecked. Before the pandemic, nine out of ten were waiting fewer than 25 weeks in England. This has now risen to 44 weeks.
To fix this, the NHS needs to be able to offer more appointments, operations, and treatments. Rather than simply plugging the gaps, new, innovative practices must be pushed forward so patients continue to receive the best possible care.
The new funding is expected to fund an extra 9 million checks, scans, and operations. The NHS long term plan committed to increasing activity year on year. In recognition of pressures from Covid, this will now increase to 110% of the planned activity levels by 2023/24.
This is in addition to our historic settlement for the NHS in 2018, which will see its budget rise by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24.
This is a significant, long-term increase in public spending, which will directly improve people’s lives.
Speaking in the House, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
You can’t fix the Covid backlogs without giving the NHS the money it needs. You can’t fix the NHS without fixing social care, you can’t fix social care without removing the fear of losing everything to pay for it, and you can’t fix health and social care without long-term reform. The plan I am setting out today will fix all of these problems together.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
We’re tackling the NHS backlog and taking decisive action to fix our broken social care system.
This significant £12bn-a-year long-term increase in public spending will improve people’s lives across the UK – but our health and social care systems cannot be rebuilt without difficult decisions.
The new Health and Social Care Levy is the necessary and responsible thing to do to protect the NHS, sharing the cost between businesses and individuals and ensuring those earning more pay more.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said:
It’s absolutely right that NHS staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care for hundreds of thousands of Covid patients in hospital, get strong backing to recover routine services and begin to tackle the Covid backlog.
The pandemic is still with us and we will have to live with the impact of Covid for some time, so the additional funding confirmed this week will help meet those additional costs, and give the NHS clarity for the coming years while delivering millions more of the vital checks, tests and operations that patients need.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
Our nurses, doctors and care workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic in our hour of need.
But the pandemic has taken its toll – waiting times are longer than ever before and social care is under even greater pressure.
This additional funding is a critical investment in our country’s future – it will give the NHS the extra capacity it needs to get back on its feet and is a vital first step in the reform of our broken care system.
The Prime Minister has been clear that we cannot fix Covid backlogs without fixing the social care system. Taking necessary, responsible, and fair action, the Prime Minister has pledged to end the cruel lottery around social care costs.
Currently, families live with the fear of losing everything they own – including potentially a lifetime’s worth of savings.
Around one in seven must pay over £100,000 for care, with bills falling indiscriminately on some of the sickest and most vulnerable.
Thanks to the action announced today, no one in England will now have to pay more than £86,000 in care costs over the course of their lifetime. This is equivalent to around three years in care.
This will apply regardless of where they live, how old they are, what their condition is, or how much they happen to earn.
At the same time, the government will support those without savings – with the state covering all care costs for anyone with assets under £20,000.
Anyone with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to the cost of their care but will also receive state support, which will be means-tested.
The new £100,000 limit is over 4 times higher than the current limit of £23,250, meaning many more people will be eligible for support than under the current system.
The overall system will be made fairer, to ensure those who fund their own care do not pay more than state-funded individuals for the equivalent standard of care.
The social care workforce will receive new training and qualification opportunities, so they have the opportunity to progress and improve, while providing an even better standard of care.
The Prime Minister is also clear we must address wider issues in how and where people are cared for. We will bring the NHS and the social care system in England closer together – so people can be better cared for at the time and place that is right for them. An integration white paper will be published later this year.
While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own systems, we will work together with the Devolved Administrations to tackle treatment backlogs and improve care for our elderly.
An ageing population with increasingly complex needs is putting ever more pressure on the social care system.
So alongside providing a path to long-term financial sustainability, additional support for the care system is also needed.
The government will set out a detailed plan later in the autumn to enable Local Authorities and other providers to invest in technology, innovative methods of care and in their workforce.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.09: Masks must be worn indoors on ferries, but CalMac said compliance had dropped from 95% to almost 50% on some routes: Managing director Robbie Drummond said in 10 of the past 31 days sailings on the west coast network had been affected by positive cases: Cases mean crew members having to self isolate and a deep clean of ferries…..
Some Calmac staff have certainly been heard reminding customers they should wear a mask but again it is difficult to see what they may be able to do in practice if a passenger either claims they are exempt – even if they don’t have a lanyard – or simply takes the mask off again later: Mr Drummond said the majority of people complied when asked to put on a mask.
CalMac runs more than 30 boats to over 50 ports and harbours, which are located in the Western Isles, Inner Hebrides, Highlands, Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute.
Services had been drastically reduced due to the pandemic, but following the relaxation of Covid rules earlier this year passenger numbers have rebounded to almost the record levels seen in 2019.
To protect customers and crew from infection, face coverings are mandatory indoors on ferries unless a person is exempt.
Mr Drummond told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme there were concerns about a growing number of people failing to comply with the measure.
He said that while it was not certain how Covid was being brought on board ferries, the wearing of face coverings helped to reduce the risk.
Mr Drummond said: “We are doing everything we can to inform passengers in emails, posters at ports, frequent messages on board, but we don’t have enforcement powers.
“Our staff are regularly reminding passengers to use face coverings.”
The rules on facemasks haven’t changed but there are growing suggestions that compliance is slipping.In Scotland they should still be worn in public transport and in shops unless someone has an exemption: This might be on medical grounds or because of a disability. Some disabilities are hidden……………………Unless sanctions can be imposed, the law on facemasks effectively relies on people willingly complying because they believe it is the right thing to do.The worry must be that if compliance were to drop to low levels, a rule designed to help protect the public and contain Covid could end up being counterproductive.Should wearing a mask still be required by law? Or should the issue simply be one of personal responsibility and public health guidance as in England? Or will the relatively high level of cases just now simply prompt more to wear a mask?RULES: What are the restrictions in your area?EASING: What rules are changing, and when?CASES: Where are the latest cases in Scotland?WHO? The people who have died with Covid-19
#AceHealthReport – Sept.08: Boris Johnson said it would raise £36bn for frontline services in the next three years and be the “biggest catch-up programme in the NHS’ history”
#AceDailyNews says that Boris Johnson has outlined a new 1.25% health and social care tax to pay for reforms………..He accepted the tax broke a manifesto pledge, but said the “global pandemic was in no one’s manifesto”……………….However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the plan was a “sticking plaster”.
The tax will begin as a 1.25% rise in National Insurance (NI) from April 2022 paid by both employers and workers, and will then become a separate tax on earned income from 2023 – calculated in the same way as NI and appearing on an employee’s payslip.
Income from share dividends – earned by those who own shares in companies – will also see a 1.25% tax increase.
The UK-wide tax will be focused on funding health and social care in England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £2.2bn to spend on their services.
PM: Social care must be paid for by taxes, not borrowing
Mr Johnson said the proceeds from these rises would lead to £12bn a year going into catching up on the backlog in the NHS created by Covid, increasing hospital capacity for nine million more appointments, scans and operations.
And he pledged that by 2024/25, there would be the ability to help 30% more elective patients than before the pandemic.
The money will also go towards changes to the social care system, where a cap will be introduced on care costs from October 2023 of £86,000 over a person’s lifetime.
All people with assets worth less than £20,000 will then have their care fully covered by the state, and those who have between £20,000 and £100,000 in assets will see their care costs subsidised.
Mr Johnson insisted that with the new tax “everyone will contribute according to their means”, adding: “You can’t fix the Covid backlogs without giving the NHS the money it needs.”You can’t fix the NHS without fixing social care. you can’t fix social care without removing the fear of losing everything to pay for social care and you can’t fix health and social care without long-term reform. “The plan that this government is setting out… will fix all of those problems together.”But Labour’s Sir Keir said the new tax broke the Conservatives’ pledge at the last election not to raise National Insurance, income tax or VAT. He also said the rise would target young people, supermarket workers and nurses, rather than those with the “broadest shoulders” who should pay more. The Labour leader added: “Read my lips – the Tories can never again claim to be the party of low tax.”The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey – who is a carer himself – also said the tax was “unfair”, and said the government’s plan missed out solutions for staffing shortages, care for working age adults and unpaid family carers. Mr Johnson said no Conservative government wanted to raise taxes – but he defended the move as “the right, the reasonable and fair approach” in light of the pandemic, which saw the government spend upwards of £407bn on support. A tax more palatable to voters?Analysis by Peter Saull, BBC politics correspondentUnder Boris Johnson’s plan, your payslip will feature a “Health and Social Care Levy” from 2023 onwards.This is the 1.25% rise in National Insurance rebranded to underline that the money will be ring-fenced for the health and care system.You may well have seen something similar on your council tax bill.Local authorities in England have been able to raise extra money through an “adult social care precept” since 2015. In effect, though, the prime minister is creating a brand new tax.The idea of a specific “NHS and care tax” is something that may well be more palatable to voters.And future occupants of No 10 could struggle to justify getting rid of it.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.07: As announced on Thursday 29 July 2021, and as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review, the government extended the policy on fully vaccinated passengers arriving from amber list countries to include those who have been vaccinated in Europe (EU member states, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and US residents vaccinated in the United States.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports on the Summary of updates to international travel: Developments on international travel and changes to the traffic light system during the summer 2021 recess period…
Global Travel Taskforce July checkpoint review
These changes came into force at 04:00 on Monday 2 August 2021 and mean that amber list arrivals vaccinated in the US and in Europe no longer have to take a day 8 test or quarantine. However, they are still required to take a pre-departure test before arrival as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 after arrival.
Children (under 18s) who are ordinarily resident in the US or Europe are also exempt from quarantine and the day 8 test, the same as children ordinarily resident in the UK. Children aged 11 and over will still need to complete a pre-departure and day 2 test. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will only need to complete a day 2 test, and children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.
Additional restrictions for France were applied on Monday 19 July 2021 due to the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant. These temporary additional restrictions were removed at 04:00 on Sunday 8 August 2021 and the fully vaccinated policy now applies to France.
Unvaccinated passengers or passengers whose vaccines were not provided in the UK, Europe or US through Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), EMA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines, respectively, arriving in the UKfrom an amber list country are required to quarantine at home, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.
The government will explore how to expand this approach to other countries, where it is safe to do so.
Further to this, international cruises also fully restarted on 2 August 2021. Passengers travelling on international cruises are subject to the same rules as other international passengers and should therefore follow the traffic light system. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice has been amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.
Traffic light system review
During parliamentary recess there have been 2 reviews of the country allocations within the traffic light system, on Thursday 5 August 2021 and Thursday 26 August 2021.
The following countries and territories have been added to the government’s green list:
At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:
At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:
Passengers arriving from green list destinations need to provide evidence of a negative COVID- 19 test result prior to travel and take a further test on or before day 2 of their arrival in the UK.
The following countries have been added to the amber list at 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August 2021:
United Arab Emirates
The following countries and territories have been added to the red list, reflecting the increased case rates in these countries as well as presenting a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern:
At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:
At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:
Passengers arriving from these destinations, irrespective of vaccination status, are required to self-isolate in a managed quarantine hotel, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.
From Thursday 12 August 2021, the cost for staying in a managed quarantine facility when arriving from a red list country increased to £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult to better reflect the total costs involved. The price remains unchanged for children.
Testing remains an important part of ensuring safe international travel. The government continues to work with the travel industry and private testing providers to further reduce testing costs while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. The government has recently reduced NHS Test and Trace costs for travel testing for a second time to £68 and £136 for day 2 and days 2 and 8 testing packages respectively, to send a clear signal to industry and encourage a reduction in private sector pricing.
The Health Secretary has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an urgent review of private testing providers to explore whether individual PCR providers may be breaching their obligations under consumer law; to report on any structural problems in the PCRmarket affecting price, reliability, or service quality; and whether there are any immediate actions that the government could take in the meantime. The CMA has also sent and published an open letter to providers of PCRtests on how they should comply with consumer law.
On 23 August 2021: The government also announced that, following a rapid review of the pricing and service standards of day 2 and day 8 testing providers listed on GOV.UK, more than 80 companies have had their misleading prices corrected on the government’s website and given a final warning, and a further 57 firms have been removed. The action will help ensure consumers can trust the testing providers listed on GOV.UKand only the most reliable companies are available.
While public health is a devolved matter, the government works closely with the devolved administrations on any changes to international travel and aims to ensure a whole UK approach.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.07: When several students at the Evangelical Church of Vietnam South’s (ECVN-S) Institute of Bible and Theology in Ho Chi Minh City developed coughs and fevers on July 20, church authorities immediately called the government health department.
Hundreds of people have been moved from their homes in #Hanoi to protect them from #COVID19. After a sharp rise in cases in Thanh Xuan district, around 1,200 people are being relocated to the FPT University in the capital’s suburbs. #Vietnampic.twitter.com/fZ4Gfuweoq
In rapid tests, some 290 of the 306 students and staff on the campus in the city’s urban District 2 tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities immediately clamped a quarantine on the campus and sent in a small medical team.
Among the 15 cases that required off-campus hospitalization were those of the dean of students, pastor Nguyen An Thai, and his wife. All the hospitalized were improving except for three students who remained seriously ill at this writing. Many of the infected who remained on campus had coughs and fevers and were weak. A male student on campus who was mildly ill died from a serious fall.
Two Christian doctors and five volunteers of a Christian student fellowship have courageously gone into the quarantined campus to serve for the duration.
Among the first hotspots in what Vietnam calls its fourth wave of COVID-19 was a serious outbreak related to the Revival Ekklesia Mission (REM) house church at the end of April. At that time the government and state-controlled media came down very hard on the small church and its leaders, blaming and shaming them and launching a criminal investigation for spreading a dangerous disease.
Media and public opprobrium began to abate only when Ho Chi Minh City was overcome by other, larger outbreaks in factories and schools.
With the memory of harsh treatment of the REM church outbreak still fresh, however, ECVN(S) leaders appealed to communist authorities to refrain from making a big fuss about the Bible school outbreak in the media, and they complied. Government-church cooperation in this case has been better managed by both sides.
Churches, other Christian organizations and individuals generously donated equipment and supplies to the affected school. The ECVN(S)’s Social and Medical Committee (SOMEDCO), for its part, went into high gear with both local and international support. Churches in Hong Kong donated 100 ventilators. SOMEDCO supplied 10 to their affected school and 20 to the National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Others are being distributed as needed.
The SOMEDCO also prepared care packages worth about $25 each for hundreds of affected and quarantined families, both church members and not, as well as hundreds more for minimally paid public COVID-19 sanitation workers and their families. With food preparation on the campus not possible, SOMEDCO was also tasked with supplying 1,100 meals a day for the quarantined, so far costing about $60,000.
On 21 July SOMEDCO representatives went to the offices of the Vietnam Fatherland Front to present a gift of 1.1 billion Vietnamese dong (US$48,000) for the national fund for purchasing COVID-19 vaccines.
Authorities have approached representatives of the various religions for volunteers to work in COVID-19 hospital wards. The Vietnam Evangelical Alliance of house churches recruited 10 such volunteers. This service requires a three-month commitment, two months of service isolated within the institution and three weeks of quarantine after the service. Catholic news service Asianews reported that teams from various religions supplied 299 such volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City.
Until this “fourth wave,” Vietnam had been among the top 10 countries in the world in controlling the virus. In a country of just under 100 million people, the total numbers of cases at this writing was only 110,000, and deaths were 524. But now Vietnam is recording about 6,000 new infections a day, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City.
In contrast to implementing anti-religion communist ideology, Vietnam seems to be recognizing that religion is not a parasitic leech on society but a willing contributor to the national fight against the pandemic.
Nevertheless, the earlier REM church outbreak appears to have left lingering negative fallout. Many partially registered and non-registered churches that make up at least a third of Vietnam’s evangelicals are experiencing increased scrutiny under the onerous terms of the 2018 Law on Belief and Religion. At least one group has been ordered to cease its online worship services.
Church leaders who do not wish to be quoted by name fear that this scrutiny will lead to more intense government interference and control of their internal affairs.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.04: The deal puts an end to the EU’s pending action in the Belgian courts: The EU said this week that 70% of adults had been double vaccinated…….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that AstraZeneca has agreed to deliver 200 million doses of its vaccine, which had been promised under a contract, to the EU by the end of March 2022.
Earlier this year AstraZeneca angered European Commission officials when it said it could only deliver a fraction of the doses agreed for the first three months of 2021.
The bitter dispute overshadowed the initial weeks of the vaccine rollout across the EU’s 27 countries. The Commission accused the company of breaking an August 2020 advanced purchase deal while AstraZeneca hit back arguing that the contract only required its “best effort” to deliver millions of vaccine doses on time.
AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, now known as Vaxzevria, has also been hit by age restrictions imposed by several EU countries because of very rare side effects. The EU’s medicines agency made clear that the benefits outweighed the risks for all adult groups.
The delivery row was set to reach the Brussels courts at the end of September and Rudd Dobber of AstraZeneca said he was “very pleased that we have been able to reach a common understanding” with the Commission.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said there were still “significant differences in vaccination rates between our member states, and the continued availability of vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s, remains crucial”.
Under the settlement the two sides agreed that another 60 million doses would be delivered by the end of this month, a further 75 million by the end of December and a final 65 million by the end of March 2022.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.02: The plans will apply to indoor and outdoor events, and will need to be signed off by MSPs next week: Ms Sturgeon said the move was needed to help stem the recent surge in the number of cases…..
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Nicola Sturgeon with support from Greens in their Power-Sharing have agreed to the need for vaccine passports for large events she said in Holyrood on Wednesday as a further 6,107 people have tested positive, with the number of people in hospital doubling in the past 10 days and several areas of Scotland are among the regions with the highest rates of the virus in Europe.
The new vaccine certification rules mean people over the age of 18 will need to show they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:
Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
Unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience.
Unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience.
Any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
He added: “It’s not clear what IT infrastructure will be in place, what time-scales clubs will be asked to work to, or what can be done for those without smart phones.
“And it’s not clear if it’s going to cut across terms and conditions of seasons tickets already bought by people across the land.”
Ms Sturgeon said the hospitality industry as a whole would not be included in the certification scheme – although that decision would be kept under review.
And there are no plans to include key services or settings where people have no choice over attendance – such as shops, public transport, education and medical services.
Anyone who has good reasons for not getting fully vaccinated – including children and people with particular medical conditions – will be exempt.
People can already request a paper copy of their vaccination record to allow them to travel, and from Friday they will be provided with a QR code so they can download a copy of the record to keep on their phone.
Paper copies of vaccine certificates are already available for people who have been fully vaccinated
A similar scheme will be introduced in England at the end of this month, with people needing to have a “Covid pass” to access “higher risk” settings such as nightclubs.
Several other European countries – including France, Italy and Ireland – have already introduced certification.
Scotland’s health secretary, Humza Yousaf, said in July that he was “sceptical” about the case for vaccine passports, citing concerns that they “might increase the inequality gap, and there would be ethical issues”.
The country’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, also said he did not believe it was right to exclude people who do not want to be vaccinated after the UK government set out its plans to introduce passports in England.
In a statement at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the certification scheme was now needed to “help protect individuals and the country as a whole and reduce the risk of further restrictions being necessary”.The first minister added: “Many of the events and venues that are covered by the certification scheme are important – they matter to our economy, and to our cultural and social life. “That’s why we want to enable them to stay open safely – but they are not essential services.”And the nature of them – which involves bringing many people together in relatively small areas – does mean that, despite their very best efforts, they can contribute significantly to the spread of the virus.”She also said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to rule out re-introducing further restrictions in the future.
The Scottish Greens are not keen on vaccine passports. The new minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, Patrick Harvie, has raised concerns about their introduction before.In July he argued vaccine certification “would deepen discrimination against those who have not yet been vaccinated”.
Today the party’s health spokesperson, Gillian Mackay, said it was essential the Scottish government ensures the introduction of vaccine certification doesn’t adversely affect disabled people, those with underlying health conditions and those from the global south who may not be able to access proof of vaccination. But the Greens are now in government. Vaccine certification isn’t specifically excluded in the co-operation agreement they signed with the SNP and so the Greens are bound by collective responsibility on this issue and will have to support it when it’s put to the vote at Holyrood.
The first minister said it was a “significant move” and would need to be signed off by MSPs, with a debate and vote to take place next week.However the SNP has a comfortable majority with the backing of the Scottish Greens – who have previously been opposed to the move – and the cooperation agreement between the two parties commits them to working together on Covid-related matters.
The Liberal Democrats were the only party to hit out directly against the plans following Ms Sturgeon’s statement, with leader Alex Cole-Hamilton saying vaccine passports were akin to “medical ID cards”, adding: “
This is an illiberal step”.Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the Scottish government had “wasted months” that could have been spent making preparations, and was now “introducing vaccine passports at the last minute”.He added: “It’s a striking u-turn from what John Swinney said last month, where he emphatically claimed vaccine passports were “the wrong way” to go. “We need businesses to get in-depth guidance around these certificates as soon as possible.
They should be involved in the process and the government needs to clarify whether they will be expected to police these new rules.”Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the virus was now out of control and Scotland – and claimed the government had no strategy to deal with it. Case levels in Scotland are 80% higher now than they were last week, and five times higher than they were four weeks ago.
The number of people in hospital has more than doubled since 20 August, from 312 to 629.Intensive care admissions have not risen as quickly, but have still gone up from 34 to 59 over the same timescale.Meanwhile 4,108,804 people have had a first dose of vaccine, and 3,691,066 have had two.That includes 95% of people over 40 who are now fully vaccinated, as well as 71% of 30 to 39-year-olds and 51% of 18 to 29-year-olds.The Federation of Small Businesses said the many affected firms would not welcome the certificate scheme – but would accept it as an alternative to stricter restrictions. But it said the system needed to be user-friendly for both businesses and the public, and warned against a “rush” to extend the scheme to other settings. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said the scheme was a “threat hanging over the whole of the hospitality industry”, while the UK Hospitality Scotland said the move would “cause dismay amongst businesses” that had only recently been allowed to reopen.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.28: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the sharp rise was a “cause for concern” – but the Scottish government was not currently considering the introduction of a circuit breaker lockdown……
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says following unlocking restrictions has led Scotland to record a huge increase in daily #COVID19 cases with a total of 6,835 new cases were reported on Friday – more than 1,800 above the previous highest figure and the third time this week a new record has been set as cases have roughly doubled in a week’ …
However, she stressed the importance of everyone “playing their part” in halting the spread of the virus.
She said on Friday that she could not rule anything out, but that no-one wanted to “go backwards” to even limited restrictions.
PA Media: Ms Sturgeon urged people to get vaccinated, test themselves regularly and “tighten up again” on following the current guidelines.
She encouraged people to meet outdoors, avoid crowds, keep a safe distance from others and minimise physical contact.
And she added: “I hope we can get through this with all of us behaving sensibly and appropriately.”
The daily test positivity rate reported on Friday was 14.2%, up from 11.5% the previous day.
A record number of tests had been carried out on Thursday – but Ms Sturgeon said that did not entirely explain the increase in case numbers, which have doubled over the last seven days.
“It’s important to point out that case numbers are rising across the UK just now, but after a period of slower increases in Scotland the rise here is particularly sharp at the moment,” she said.”That is possibly, at least in part, a reflection of the fact that our schools return earlier, with the increased interactions that come with that.”And although vaccination has significantly weakened the link between a high volume of new cases and serious harm to health, it hasn’t completely broken that link.”The number of people in hospital with Covid has risen from 312 to 479 over the last week.There have been four further deaths, and no change in the number of patients in intensive care, which stands at 47.We’ve seen record high figures this week, but the vaccination programme has disrupted the link between catching Covid and ending up in hospital.But if case numbers get too high, even a small proportion of people becoming seriously ill can pose a challenge for the NHS.
So it’s the number of people becoming seriously ill that will now define the path we take. And, crucially, whether restrictions have to come back.The first minister is ruling out the harshest of restrictions – a circuit-breaker lockdown. She’s actually hopeful that we can get through this without any additional measures. We’re being asked to take voluntary action: meet outdoors, avoid crowds and limit physical contact.But that leaves the public in a slightly strange position – being asked to not take full advantage of the freedoms we were granted just a few weeks ago. Voluntary action now can help avoid more rules in the near future: That’s Nicola Sturgeon’s message for the weekend.
National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch was asked on BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme about the statistical modelling for case numbers.He said that if the rate doubled again in another seven days, that would mean nearly 14,000 cases – unless we were close to a “peak” which was not currently visible.When the previous record total of new cases – 5,021 – was reported on Wednesday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the rise was partly being fuelled by the return of schools.Scottish schools returned from the summer holidays in mid-August, several weeks earlier than in the rest of the UK.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association is calling for all secondary school pupils to be vaccinated.Getty ImagesPupils returned to school earlier this monthScottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser warned that “heightening the threat of restrictions when our vaccine system has been so successful” would jeopardise the country’s recovery from the pandemic. He added: “The Scottish people cannot be kept in this holding pattern of removing and introducing Covid restrictions, particularly when there is no threat of a new variant at this time. “The recovery of our NHS and Scotland’s economy is at stake.
The SNP must give that more consideration now that so many people have been vaccinated.”Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar voiced concerns about the case rate and increase in hospitalisations, and said the way we “ramp up” the rollout of the vaccine was crucial: He suggested door-to-door vaccination in areas with a low uptake, along with mobile units at university campuses and high schools.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.25: The study, OCTAVE DUO, will offer people who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised a Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccine to determine whether this will give a stronger immune response than two doses.
A new clinical trial will investigate whether a third dose of vaccine for people with weakened immune systems gives a stronger immune response than two doses.
Participants will be given either Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax as a third dose of vaccine
The government-funded study follows the results of the OCTAVE trial showing that 89% of people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed generate antibodies, and 60% generate a strong antibody response after two doses
The £2.2 million study will build on the OCTAVE trial, led by the University of Glasgow and co-ordinated by the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit.
The OCTAVE trial has published preliminary data today showing that 89% of people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed generate antibodies following vaccination, and 60% generated a strong antibody response following two doses of a vaccine.
However, 40% of people in these groups mounted a low, or undetectable, immune response after two doses, and the level of antibody response varies between the groups studied.
The level of antibodies required for protection from COVID-19 is still not known, and it is likely that T cells also play an important role in protecting people from the virus. These findings therefore don’t provide a conclusive assessment of the protection vaccines offer people with weakened immune systems.
Up to 1,200 patients who are already involved in the OCTAVE study or those with other at-risk conditions involved in parallel studies will be recruited to the OCTAVE DUO trial.
The OCTAVE DUO study, co-funded by the government’s Vaccines Taskforce and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by the University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham, will analyse in detail the immune response of this group to the vaccine and the durability of this protection. It will also use healthcare records to determine whether any participants are later diagnosed with COVID-19.
Initial results are expected later this year to inform the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment in these specific at-risk groups. The trial will follow the patients to mid-2022 and offer more detailed information at that stage about the immune responses that develop in these groups.
The government is carefully considering the findings of the OCTAVE trial and will also consider any further appropriate advice – including from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – for those who are immunosuppressed as part of regular reviews of the latest data and evidence on vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said
Vaccines have built a strong wall of defence in the UK and this is allowing most of us to learn to live safely with COVID-19.
We know some people may get less protection from the vaccine than others, so we are planning for a booster programme in the Autumn, prioritising those most at risk.
This new study will play an important role in helping to shape the deployment of future vaccines doses for these specific at-risk groups.
A separate study by Public Health England in July which looked at antibody response and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection also showed that those who were immunocompromised had lower antibody responses.
It also found that protection from COVID (vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease) for those who are immunosuppressed of all ages after one dose was 4%, but after two doses it was 74%, providing similar protection to those who are not in an at-risk group. Again vaccine effectiveness may vary by specific condition and severity of that condition.
Patients included in the OCTAVE DUO study are people with lymphoid malignancies, immune mediated inflammatory diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis and inflammatory bowel disease), renal disease, solid tumours (including breast and lung cancers), haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, hepatic and intestinal disease, and primary immune deficiency.
Professor Iain McInnes, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow who leads the OCTAVE and OCTAVE DUO studies, said:
It is hugely important for us to urgently understand the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in people who have immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, cancer, and diseases of the kidney or liver.
Our first study to answer this question is the OCTAVE study which has shown that there is a group of patients who may not mount a sufficient immune response.
We are pleased to now roll-out of the OCTAVE DUO trial, to investigate the effects of a third dose on this particular group of patients who have shown an undetectable or low vaccine response. We hope to provide answers to this very important unanswered question.
Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit which is co-ordinating both OCTAVE and OCTAVE DUO, said:
The pandemic has been particularly concerning for millions of people in the UK who have conditions or long term illnesses which place them at greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Together with our preliminary findings from OCTAVE, this new study will be instrumental in helping inform how best to vaccinate patients with chronic conditions, and protect them from COVID-19 infection in the future.
Dr Rob Buckle, Chief Scientist of the Medical Research Council, part of UKRI, which co-funded the trial, said:
While most of us are relieved to be vaccinated to protect ourselves and those around us, today’s results investigating the outcome for people with immunosuppression will be of concern to the subset for whom the vaccine didn’t trigger a large protective response.
This new study of giving third jabs to this group is critical research which we hope will demonstrate a much-needed immunity boost or identify those who could benefit from other interventions.
One of the real strengths of the UK’s scientific response to the pandemic has been the way that we’ve assembled teams of experts to lead cutting-edge studies like this, to inform our vaccine roll-out and government decision-making in real time.
More than 89 million people have been vaccinated in the UK, including more than 47million people with a first dose (87.7%) and more than 41 million people with a second dose (76.9%).
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, the dominant strain in the UK. The analysis shows that, across all adults, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses.
COVID-19 vaccines have saved around 95,200 lives and prevented 82,100 hospitalisations and 23.9 million infections in England alone, the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows.
Further advice on vaccination, including on whether a third dose should be given to the immunocompromised, is not dependent on the OCTAVE DUO, the results of which are expected later this year.
Recruitment to the OCTAVE DUO study will be only from the cohort of people involved in the initial OCTAVE study, and similar studies.
Hospital study sites that recruited patients for OCTAVE: QEH Birmingham, Glasgow, St James Leeds, Imperial London (Hammersmith), Oxford, Addenbrookes, Southampton, King’s College London, Sheffield, St Georges London, Freeman Hospital.
Background on the vaccination programme:
The latest UK-wide vaccination statistics are published here and NHS England publishes vaccine statistics for England here.
The latest PHE analysis on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines is available here. Their latest study on the number of cases prevented and lives saved by vaccines is here.
PHE have published data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for at-risk groups here.
Visit the NHS website for advice on how to book or manage a COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.23: Anyone over 18 will be able to opt in when having a PCR test from Tuesday – of those who test positive, up to 8,000 will be sent two home antibody tests. ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports #COVID19Antibody tests are to be widely offered to the UK public for the first time in a new programme that aims to find out more about how much natural protection people have after getting #coronavirus.
On Sunday the U.K. reported see below for latest figures after coming out of lockdown recently as U.K. prepares to end furlough and everyone can return to normal life ?
The government scheme will offer tests to thousands of adults each day.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it would be quick and easy to take part.
The first of the finger-prick tests would have to be done as soon as possible after the positive result, so the body would not have time to generate a detectable antibody response to the infection.
The second would be taken 28 days later and measure antibodies generated in response to the infection.
The UK Health Security Agency is to run the programme and will work alongside NHS test and trace services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to use results to monitor levels of antibodies in positive cases.
Its chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said the scheme would help the UK gain “vital insight” into the impact of the vaccination programme and immune responses to different variants.
Mr Javid said it would build on the “massive wall of defence” that was the vaccination programme and getting involved would help “strengthen our understanding of Covid-19 as we cautiously return to a more normal life”.
The Department of Health said as well as helping it improve understanding about antibody protection, the scheme could give information about any groups of people who did not develop an immune response after getting coronavirus.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed news of the study, saying: “It is vital that we have the fullest understanding possible of vaccine effectiveness and the immune response of the broader population.
“The rollout of this antibody testing study will help us achieve this and could play an important role in the battle to keep the virus under control.”
Antibody tests have been used previously in the UK during the pandemic but in limited numbers, largely on people involved in studies or surveys.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.13: Experts agree on several reasons why such a goal — where overall immunity in a population is reached and the spread of the virus is stopped — is not likely.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Sir Andrew Pollard Head of Oxford Vaccine Group has said that ‘Herd Immunity’ from the #Coronavirus Plague’ is not possible with the Delta Variant according to CNBC and Holly Ellyatt
Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told British lawmakers Tuesday that as Covid vaccines did not stop the spread of the virus entirely — with vaccinated people still able to be infected and transmit the virus — the idea of achieving herd immunity was “mythical.”
“I think we are in a situation here with this current variant where herd immunity is not a possibility because it still infects vaccinated individuals,” said Pollard, one of the lead researchers in the creation of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine.
“And that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus. That might not be this month or next month, it might be next year, but at some point they will meet the virus and we don’t have anything that will stop that transmission.”
#AceHealthReport – Aug.12: Marburg virus disease is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads between humans through the transmission of bodily fluids…..
#AceHealthDesk says BBC Africa reports over Marburg Virus a man who died in Guinea found to have disease bringing the total to 200-cases since 2005 according to The World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus needed to be “stopped in its tracks” with 146 potential cases…..
#AceHealthReport – Aug.09: Thai riot police on Saturday fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to repel the crowds who marched on an army base where Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has his residence to demand his resignation.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Thai protesters launch projectiles and homemade bombs at police as discontent over the #pandemic boils over as the country reported a new high of 21,838 confirmed cases on Saturday, with 212 more deaths.
Protesters threw projectiles, firecrackers and homemade bombs at police
Bangkok and surrounding provinces have been under lockdown for weeks
Protesters are demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation over the handling of the pandemic
Many of them threw firecrackers and homemade bombs at the police.
Police sealed off a road near Victory Monument in the capital Bangkok using containers and shot tear gas and rubber bullets to push protesters back.
About 100 officers were seen in riot gear and shields metres from demonstrators.
Mr Prayuth has been criticised for a slow vaccination program.
The protesters are also calling for part of the budget for the monarchy and the military to be redirected into the COVID-19 fight.
The march was called off in the early evening but disturbances continued, with protesters battling police and hurling objects.
According to the city’s Erawan Medical Center emergency services, five people were hospitalised, including three police officers.
Thailand facing #COVID19 spike and economic distress
Bangkok and surrounding provinces have been under lockdown, including overnight curfew, for weeks.
The protest movement began last year with demands for sweeping political change, including unprecedented public calls for the reform of the powerful monarchy to make it more accountable.
After going dormant due to prosecutions, internal disagreements and the pandemic, protests have returned in recent weeks, fueled by the growing discontent over the government’s response to the health crisis and its massive impact on the economy, which is reliant on tourism.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.08: Even people who have recovered from #COVID19 are being urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious Delta variant surges, with a new study showing survivors who ignore the advice are more than twice as likely to get reinfected…..
The CDC recommends full vaccination, meaning both doses of two-dose vaccines for everyone: Cases & DataCases in US Last 30 DaysTotal Cases in US35,665,877Total Vaccines Administered350,627,188Deaths in US Last 30 DaysTotal Deaths in US614,291COVID DATA TRACKER
A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds to growing laboratory evidence that people who have had one bout of COVID-19 get a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells — and a bonus of broader protection against new mutants — when they’re vaccinated.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”
According to a new Gallup survey, one of the main reasons Americans cite for not planning to get vaccinated is the belief that they’re protected since they already had COVID-19.
From the beginning, health authorities have urged survivors to get the broader protection vaccination promises.
Scientists say infection does generally leave survivors protected against a serious reinfection, at least with a similar version of the virus, but blood tests have signalled that protection drops against worrisome variants.
The CDC study offers some real-world evidence.
Researchers studied Kentucky residents with a lab-confirmed coronavirus infection in 2020, the vast majority of them between October and December.
They compared 246 people who got reinfected in May or June of this year with 492 similar survivors who stayed healthy.
The survivors who never got vaccinated had a significantly higher risk of reinfection than those who were fully vaccinated, even though most had their first bout of COVID-19 just six to nine months ago.
A different variant of the coronavirus caused most illnesses in 2020, while the newer Alpha version was predominant in Kentucky in May and June, said study lead author Alyson Cavanaugh, a CDC disease detective working with that state’s health department.
That suggests natural immunity from earlier infection isn’t as strong as the boost those people can get from vaccination while the virus evolves, she said.
Scientists highlight ‘hybrid immunity’
There’s little information yet on reinfections with the newer delta variant.
But US health officials point to early data from Britain that the reinfection risk appears greater with delta than with the once-common Alpha variant, once people are six months past their prior infection.
“There’s no doubt” that vaccinating a COVID-19 survivor enhances both the amount and breadth of immunity “so that you cover not only the original (virus) but the variants,” Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said at a recent White House briefing.
But in a separate study published Friday in JAMA Network Open, Rush University researchers reported just one vaccine dose gave the previously infected people a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells, more than those who had never been infected got from two shots.
Other recent studies published in Science and Nature show the combination of a prior infection and vaccination also broadens the strength of people’s immunity against a changing virus.
It’s what virologist Shane Crotty of California’s La Jolla Institute for Immunology calls “hybrid immunity”.
Vaccinated survivors “can make antibodies that can recognise all kinds of variants, even if you were never exposed to the variant,” Dr Crotty said.
One warning for anyone thinking of skipping vaccination if they had a prior infection: the amount of natural immunity can vary from person to person, possibly depending on how sick they were to begin with.
The Rush University study found four of 29 previously infected people had no detectable antibodies before they were vaccinated and the vaccines worked for them just like they work for people who never had COVID-19.
Why do many of the previously infected have such a robust response to vaccination? It has to do with how the immune system develops multiple layers of protection.
After either vaccination or infection, the body develops antibodies that can fend off the coronavirus the next time it tries to invade. Those naturally wane over time.
If an infection sneaks past them, T cells help prevent serious illness by killing virus-infected cells — and memory B cells jump into action to make lots of new antibodies.
Those memory B cells don’t just make copies of the original antibodies.
In immune system boot camps called germinal centres, they also mutate antibody-producing genes to test out a range of those virus fighters, explained University of Pennsylvania immunologist John Wherry.
The result is essentially a library of antibody recipes that the body can choose from after future exposures — and that process is stronger when vaccination triggers the immune system’s original memory of fighting the actual virus.
With the Delta variant’s super infectiousness, getting vaccinated despite a prior infection “is more important now than it was before to be sure,” Dr Crotty said.
“The breadth of your antibodies and potency against variants is going to be far better than what you have right now.”
Johns Hopkins Doctor says #COVID19 vaccines ‘should not be required for all Americans’ as Unvaccinated people “pose no public health threat to those already immune.”
A professor at Johns Hopkins University is arguing that the one-size-fits-all approach to universal vaccination being pushed in the U.S. is misguided and based on bad science.
Marty Makary, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, said in U.S. News and World Reports that “the notion that we have to vaccinate every living, walking American – and eventually every newborn – in order to control the pandemic is based on the false assumption that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is equally distributed in the population.”
“It’s not,” he continued. “We have always known that it’s very hard for the virus to hurt someone who is young and healthy. And that’s still the case. While vaccine requirements for health care workers make sense, we would never extend those requirements outside of health care for, say, the flu shot.”
Makary further pointed out that at least some individuals have already acquired natural immunity to COVID.
“Requiring the vaccine in people who are already immune with natural immunity has no scientific support,” he argued. “While vaccinating those people may be beneficial – and it’s a reasonable hypothesis that vaccination may bolster the longevity of their immunity – to argue dogmatically that they must get vaccinated has zero clinical outcome data to back it.”
“The goal of our pandemic response should be to reduce death, illness and disability,” he said, “but instead what you’re seeing is a movement that has morphed from being pro-vaccine to vaccine fanaticism at all costs.”
#AceHealthReport – Aug.08: Mass protests kicked off in several French cities on Saturday, with thousands condemning government plans to toughen anti-coronavirus restrictions.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that thousands have protested across France on Saturday over Macron’s #COVID19 health pass & mandatory vaccination as a huge march was held in Paris, where participants were accompanied by a massive police presence, live footage from RT’s video agency Ruptly shows.
The protest has taken place without any major incident so far, with police and marchers only engaging in minor pushing along the route. At one point, law enforcement could be seen pepper-spraying protesters who tried to push against the police line.
Large protests have also been staged in other cities across the country. A massive column of protesters marched through the streets of the southwestern coastal city of La Rochelle to condemn the plans for a health pass.
Some 200,000 protesters were expected to hit the streets of French cities, according to local media reports, citing police sources. So far, French law enforcement has not released any official estimates on the scale of the ongoing protests.
The latest round of protests, which have rocked the country for the past few weeks, comes after France’s top court deemed most of the controversial legislation package to be constitutional. The legislation, approved by the court on Thursday, is expected to come into force on Monday.
While critics of the legislation have accused the government of trampling on civil rights and even sliding towards a “dictatorship,” the authorities have insisted that the package is designed only to encourage vaccination.