Uk News Surge vaccination won't work fast enough against Indian variant without tough travel restrictions United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - There has been an astonishing lack of revision to the planned lifting of restrictions on 17 May
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! At the moment, Covid-19 infection rates are low, the easing of restrictions that have been implemented so far haven’t increased them, and vaccination roll-out continues rapidly. However, there is a dark cloud looming in the shape of virus variants. The Brazilian variant arrived on our shores, and it didn’t seem any worse than our home-grown Kent variant. Next the South African variant arrived, and again concerns voiced went unrealised. Now, the Indian variant is circulating unchecked.Is this one different? Is this a case of the boy who cried wolf?A guide to today's talking points, straight to your inboxEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.The Indian variant was first detected in the UK on 22 February 2021. It was not until over two months later, on 23 April, that India was transferred to England’s ‘red’ travel list. It is therefore no surprise that we have experienced multiple introductions of this variant into the UK, nor that it has disseminated, helped by unrestricted travel within the UK since 29 March and its increased transmissibility relative to other variants. In the last week, UK case numbers increased by 12.4 per cent. If this continues we can expect to soon be encountering a third wave of infections.Our repeated mistakes now mean we have to evolve mitigation strategies to prevent a third wave. So what can we do?Surge testing is failing to contain the variant’s spread. Sage and the Government now acknowledge the threat posed by this very transmissible variant, and their answer, as announced by Boris Johnson on Friday, is to deploy second doses of vaccines more rapidly to everyone over 50 or with a pre-existing health condition. It makes sense to aim for as high a level of protection as possible as quickly as possible in these groups, especially if the ‘Indian’ variant is even partially able to evade vaccine-induced immunity. Targeting those high-risk groups is welcome, but will not protect those most immediately at risk – i.e. people in areas of high virus incidence.
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. Read More We must vaccinate people faster in the face of the Indian variant threat “Surge vaccination” is not a new concept; it is an adaptation of “ring vaccination”, which has been used to contain outbreaks of diseases such as ebola through the vaccination of known case contacts. Ring vaccination is unlikely to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, as it is too transmissible and has too short an incubation period (the time between getting infected and displaying symptoms). Surge vaccination differs in that target vaccinees would be defined geographically rather than through contact tracing. The implications of this for preventing disease spread are unknown – it hasn’t been done before, though a similar strategy has plummeted case numbers in Ontario. Could it work for us?Due to its enhanced transmissibility, this variant threatens to skyrocket case numbers and so our goal now must be to keep case numbers low enough to continue to ease restrictions. To achieve this, we need to give vaccines time to work. It takes two weeks from the point of vaccination for immunity to start to develop, and a second dose of vaccine (usually scheduled for around 12 weeks after the first) is required for the UK-licensed vaccines to be maximally effective. Therefore, under either scenario – of deploying second doses to high-risk groups or surge vaccinations – local travel restrictions are needed. However, an astonishing lack of revision to the planned lifting of restrictions on 17 May means that this is not going to happen.Our patchwork of international travel restrictions is also insufficient as it stands: we have witnessed that they are not fit for purpose through the importation of this and other variants. We cannot stay ahead of the virus this way – we live in a truly global world. Our current circumstances highlight the critical importance of the World Health Organisation Covax scheme, which aims to deploy vaccination programs in developing countries without their own infrastructure to do so. As we have repeatedly seen, one country is not protected unless all are protected, and so we must support this.To prevent a third wave we must act, and now. The goal must be to allow vaccination to maintain the advantage it has in allowing us to stay ahead of the virus, whatever the variant. Excuse the pun, but let us at least give surge vaccination a shot.Dr Eleanor Gaunt is a Research Fellow at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh University. She did her PhD on the Clinical Correlates and Epidemiology of Respiratory Viruses and now investigates the molecular biology of influenza A virus and SARS-CoV-2.
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