At a press conference, Johnson said there is no evidence that vaccines are less effective against the new variant – which is spreading rapidly in some cities in northern England – so the vaccination campaign would be accelerated to give the second dose as soon as possible to everyone over the age of 50.
“There are some important things that we do not know. We think that (the Indian alternative) is more transferable, but we do not know how much. If it is a little, we can go more or less with the plans, and he stressed that if it is too much then we will face difficult decisions.”
On Friday, SAGE released the minutes of its last meeting, held the previous day, in which they found that there was a “realistic possibility” that the Indian alternative would be “up to 50% more. Transferable” from Kent, the prevailing in the UK.
“If this variable exceeds Kent by between 40% and 50% nationwide,” the models indicate that Johnson’s reopening of indoor bar and restaurant space from Monday would lead to a “significant increase in hospitalizations” in England, “he said. Similar to, or greater than, previous peaks, “the scientists warned.
The British Prime Minister indicated that the country is “in a much better position than it was at Christmas”, as nearly 70% of adults have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and the Indian variant has also not shown to be more resistant to immunization. .
For this reason, and on the advice of medical authorities, the time between the first and second dose for those over 50 and at risk should be reduced from the current 12 weeks to eight weeks.
“I don’t think we need to delay the text and we can move to Level 3 (of reopening) starting Monday. But this new alternative could seriously disrupt our progress and complicate the transition to Level 4 in June,” he acknowledged.
Early data indicate that the Indian variant has spread mainly among those under the age of 60. However, as government medical advisor Chris Whitty has pointed out, it remains to be seen whether this is due to the fact that young people have more social contact and are more likely to be infected or if, on the contrary, the vaccine proves effective.
“The race between our vaccination program and the virus may be about to get tighter,” Johnson said.
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