The rapid roll-out of coronavirus vaccines amongst older people in Israel has lifted the spirits of an age group that has endured confinement and isolation during the crisis. But the pensioners should perhaps have a care. It’s not known if vaccines prevent transmission, so people who have been inoculated might still spread the virus. Top virologist Dr Chris Smith explained the public are still contracting Covid after the first dose.
Speaking to LBC about Israel’s vaccine rollout, Dr Smith said: “They’ve actually been doing a very big rollout of vaccination using Pfizer’s vaccine.
“Rather alarmingly, their Covid tsar has announced today that they’re not seeing quite the potency of the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine that they had hoped, or that Pfizer had suggested was the case because they have picked up a significant number of people who have got infected after that first dose.
“What’s not clear is if those infections cropped up just a bit soon after the first dose of the vaccine so it wouldn’t really have had the chance to work or whether they really were cropping up a bit later on.
“Why this matters is, of course, in this country the decision has been made to lengthen the period between the first and the second dose in order to vaccinate as many people as possible.
READ MORE: Coronavirus symptoms: The most common symptoms in hospital admissions
“So we’re going to be looking with interest at what Israel has found in order to find out whether we need to change our strategy or whether or not we should be OK.”
It comes as up to 2,000 people working in roles in the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain will be offered jabs to help ensure the UK gets the doses it needs to protect the most vulnerable, the Government has announced.
The move follows a plea from AstraZeneca to protect workers involved with the manufacture of the vaccine to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said staff working for Pfizer and AstraZeneca that are involved in crucial supply chain roles in the UK will be among those eligible for the jabs.
“One of the things that I’m worried about is actually maintaining a continuous supply and work on this vaccine,” he said.
“Of course with the outbreak and the pandemic where it is – I feel it’s critical to the people that are working on this vaccine are actually immunised.
“Because if you have an outbreak at one of the centres – which we’ve had actually – or in one of the groups in Oxford that is working on new variants, or the people that are working on the regulatory files, everything stops.
“This is a concern that I have and so again we’re pushing to try and get our key workers that are working on the vaccine project immunised to try and prevent these outbreaks.”