Dr Hilary Jones has opened up about the recent news that the AstraZeneca vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, telling viewers that there are different variables contributing to the disappointing results.
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Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the resident medical expert explained: "Studies in South Africa that have led to this concern about the variant that emerged from South Africa shows that in a study of 2000 people, the efficiency [of the vaccine] was reduced to 22 per cent so quite a disappointing result against that particular variant.
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"Of course, that's the variant that's much more prevalent in South Africa, if you look at the variant that's dominant in the UK, the South African variant in quite negligible at the moment, only a few cases."
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Piers Morgan was quick to suggest that these figures could change, asking Dr Hilary: "But that's at the moment, that could change quite quickly?" The doctor continued: "It's in the community but we're currently looking at doing 80,000 tests in those areas where those few cases... have emerged. So it is a concern and it could be that this vaccine is less effective, it looks likely to be less effective as we might expect with variations that emerge, mutations that might emerge, which show some sort of resistance to the vaccine.
"But what the South African study shows is while it's not very effective against mild to moderate disease, we don't know whether it's less effective against severe disease, hospitalisation and death - and that's the critical thing because the average age of participants in this trial was 31, an age group that isn't usually badly affected by COVID-19."
Dr Hilary has always been on hand to discuss COVID updates over the last year
Viewers were quick to share their thoughts on the news, with one writing: "I would still take less effective over not effective at all... less effective can be boosted not effective need to re-engineered." Another added: "More than a concern, essentially it only protects you from a certain form of the virus. Not very reassuring."
A third person tweeted: "AZ will modify their Vaccine. Other Vaccines are coming through to push COVID back. It's disappointing news but it's given us a chance to halt all flights from destinations to contain the S/A variant & have a strategy in place which suppresses COVID."
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