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UK starts fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) said on March 21 that it would administer the fourth dose of the vaccine to people at high risk of developing severe illness from Covid-19 starting this week.

The priority groups are people living and working in health care facilities, people over 75 years old, immunosuppressed patients. According to the NHS, about 5 million people are eligible for the vaccine, with 600,000 scheduled for next week.

“Our vaccination program has saved many lives, provided a solid foundation for living with Covid-19. After that great success, we have continued to vaccinate people over the age of 75 and vulnerable people. To protect them from this virus,” said Health and Social Care Minister Sajid Javid.

The number of infections in the UK has risen again due to the Omicron . mutation strong spread. The infection rate is currently one in 20 people. The number of people hospitalized has also increased, but the number of cases in the ICU remains low.

Speaking at the Spring Conference on March 20, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are preparing the fourth dose of the vaccine, because it is urgently needed.”

The UK is one of the countries hardest hit by this pandemic. The country recorded more than 163,000 deaths.

Late last year, the UK published research showing that the ability of a booster dose of vaccine (a third dose) to prevent symptomatic nCoV infection decreases within 10 weeks of vaccination.

In humans who received two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and a booster dose (Modern vaccine or Pfizer), effectiveness in preventing symptoms was 60% two to four weeks after vaccination. However, after 10 weeks, the Pfizer booster dose was only 35% effective. Moderna 45% booster dose is effective for up to 9 weeks. This became the basis for the authorities to decide to inject a fourth dose of the vaccine.

Before the UK, Israel, Chile and several European countries have implemented this program. Israel on December 27, 2021 became the first country to inject the 4th dose. The initial priority targets are health workers, the elderly, and people who work in environments that are at high risk of being infected with the virus. On January 10, Chile began giving the fourth dose of the vaccine to immunocompromised people amid an increasing number of infections.

The European Union also announced in January this year that health ministers should prepare to receive a fourth dose of the vaccine as soon as data on its effectiveness are available. The entire block recorded an increasing number of infections, the Omicron strain was spreading strongly.

Thu Linh (Based on AFP)

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