Britain 'will achieve herd immunity next week' as vaccine rollout and Covid antibodies see cases plunge
BRITAIN will achieve herd immunity from Covid next week through the vaccine rollout and the number of people who've recovered from Covid, it's reported.
Modelling by University College London (UCL) shows 73.4 per cent of Brits will have protection from the virus by April 12, The Telegraph reports.
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The herd immunity threshold is expected to be reached by Monday, with people protected by antibodies either through vaccination or previous infection.
But modelling by Imperial College London released this week suggested the number of Brits who were protected was 34 per cent.
As Britain's vaccine rollout roars on, with more than 31.7 million jabbed, the number of people who have died with Covid has plunged almost 50 per cent in a month.
Another 45 deaths were recorded yesterday, with infections sinking 46 per cent month-on-month, after another 2,763 cases were reported on Wednesday.
HERD IMMUNITY 'SURPRISE'
Prof Karl Friston, of UCL, said: "The herd immunity estimates surprised me. However, they are unremarkable when one considers that over 50 per cent of adults have been vaccinated, around 42 per cent of people have now been exposed to the virus and about 10 per cet have pre-existing immunity.
"When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in terms of sterilising immunity, this – according to the model – means about 70 per cent of the population are immune.
"Based upon contact rates at the beginning of the pandemic and estimated transmission risk, this is nearly at the herd immunity threshold."
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggested in the week ending March 14 around 54 per cent of people in England had Covid antibodies.
But more than seven million more people have had a vaccine dose since then, with almost 100,000 catching the virus.
More than 31.7 million Brits have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, with more than 5.6 million jabbed twice.
The UCL modelling also suggested the figure needed to hit the herd immunity threshold will slump to just 40 per cent by the middle of the summer.
Meanwhile, the Moderna jab is set to be rolled out in England from Monday – and could be reserved for under-30s.
It comes after the UK's medicine regulator today recommended offering 18-29 years olds an alternative jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine amid blood clot links.
Government health advisers said they believe that the UK's third vaccine will start being used in England from April 12.
Brits have been urged to keep getting jabbed after a review gave just a 0.000095 per cent chance of a blood clot from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Under-30s will now be offered other shots as a “course correction” after experts found a “reasonably plausible” link.
However, from Monday, it's hoped there'll be the option to use Moderna for the young instead.
But with 32million getting their first jab, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam insisted the rollout offers our best hope of returning to normality.
And the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Prof Van-Tam saidthe chance of blood clots from the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were “vanishingly rare”.
He said: "This is a change in clinical advice for under 30s.
"It will require some changes in the way NHS operationalises the vaccines roll-out programme, but I've spoken to colleagues in the NHS in some detail and am assured, because of our supply situation in relation to alternative vaccines, the effect on timing of overall programme should be zero or negligible.
"That, of course, is contingent upon getting the supplies we expect to get of alternative vaccines, Pfizer, which is in use now, and Moderna, that we hope to bring into deployment from mid-April."
He acknowledged there "might be a small delay sometimes, there might be a greater distance people must travel".
Unpaid carer Elle Taylor, 24, who lives in Wales, was the first in the world outside of a trial to receive the Moderna vaccine yesterday morning.
The UK is committed to buying 17million doses of Moderna, which is given – like Pfizer and AstraZeneca – in two doses several weeks apart.
Trials showed the jab was 95 per cent effective against Covid disease.
Regulators announced the that under-30s will be offered alternatives to theOxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – after blood clot fears saw the company pause its trials on teens and children.
A probe has been launched to make sure the jab is completely safe before the trials restart.
At a JCVI press conferenc, it was revealed that, of the millions given the jab, 79 had gone on to have blood clots – and 19 of the patients had since died.
It means the risk of dying from the jab is 0.000095 per cent.
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