BRITS under 30 could be offered their Covid vaccine by the end of the week – as hopes for June 21's unlocking rise.
It comes after worries the Indian variant could delay "Freedom Day", but as the speedy jabs rollout continues experts say the signs are now "looking good".
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
Last week the age eligability for vaccines was lowered three times – with those aged 32 and 33 now able to book in.
It is expected to be lowered further within days, with under 30s offered their slots at the end of the week.
It brings fresh hope for the full unlocking next month, after the variant's emergence cast doubt on the roadmap.
Yesterday Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, confirmed it's "looking good" for the final stage.
It comes after a study found Pfizer's vaccine is 88 per cent effective aggainst the Indian variant after two jabs while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.
Both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50 per cent against the Kent strain.
Professor Susan Hopkins, PHE's Covid-19 strategic response director, said the data trend was "quite clear" and heading in the "right direction".
It's still possible to catch the virus even if vaccinated, but the jabs will be effective in stopping hospitalisations and deaths.
This is a positive sign for the UK – with hopes we are on track for the day of freedom on June 21 when all restrictions are expected to be dropped.
Some 22 million Brits have had both jabs and the study reveals both are effective against the main symptoms such as a cough, a loss of smell and taste or a temperature.
Professor Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Bristol, said: “These important data from PHE give us a first look at how the effectiveness of the two vaccines we have used the most so far holds up against the B1.617.2 variant that is beginning to circulate in the UK.
"Overall the results are encouraging in that the vaccines are continuing to provide useful protection.
"It is also important to appreciate that these results relate to symptomatic infection, most of which will have been mild.
"It remains the strong expectation that both vaccines will continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease, especially after the second dose.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “groundbreaking” development and added: “We can now be confident that over 20 million people have significant protection against this variant.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said: “It’s vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all variants.”
But asked about how the data could affect the easing of restrictions from June 21, Prof Hopkins said it was "too early to say".
She said: "One week post the last restriction lifting, we will be monitoring it very carefully."
Source: Read Full Article