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No 10 concerned as 4.5 million eligible people fail to get Covid jab boosters

No 10

No 10 concerned as 4.5 million eligible people fail to get Covid jab boosters

No 10 is increasingly worried that hospitalisations and deaths among double-vaccinated people could rise due to waning immunity as an estimated 4.5 million people have failed to get their booster shots despite being eligible.

Downing Street sources told the Guardian that the gap between those eligible and those jabbed was too wide, ranking it as their major concern ahead of the winter months.

They acknowledged more needed to be done to encourage take-up as waning immunity meant more double jabbed people could get sick and were at greater risk of dying without the extra protection of the boosters.

The UK reported 293 deaths with Covid on Tuesday – the highest level since February – although the figure included all NHS England deaths from Monday owing to reporting delays. There were 33,865 daily reported cases, a drop from more than 40,000 in recent days, and 9,538 people were in hospital with Covid on Monday compared with 6,467 a month ago.

A record 1.6m boosters were delivered last week, with 7m in England since the programme started and hundreds of thousands of people booked in to receive jabs, according to NHS England. However, there are 11.5 million people eligible for their boosters, leaving a gap of 4.5 million.

John Roberts, from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, told the BBC on Tuesday expressed worries that not all those in priority groups will have had their third jabs before Christmas.

Multiple studies suggest waning immunity from vaccines. Data from Israel, where 78% of people aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated, showed a large rise in infection rates over the summer. The UK-based Zoe Covid Study app, where users can log their jabs, test results and symptoms, has suggested protection against infection after two shots of Pfizer/BioNTech decreased from 88% at one month to 74% at five to six months, while protection against infection after two Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs fell from 77% to 67% at four to five months.

Prof Tim Spector, the lead scientist on the study, said in August: “In my opinion, a reasonable worst-case scenario could see protection below 50% for the elderly and healthcare workers by winter.” A Danish study suggested the under-65s had about 80% protection for at least six months, while the over-65s had only 47% protection.

The government is pinning its hopes of avoiding further restrictions over the winter on people taking up booster jabs, which are currently offered to over-50s and those with clinical vulnerabilities who had their second jab at least six months ago. Hundreds of walk-in clinics have opened up as part of an NHS campaign.

Boris Johnson spoke about the need for people to realise the risks of not having their boosters over the weekend, saying it would be “tragic” if vulnerable people got seriously ill because they were “overconfident about their level of immunity and didn’t get their booster when they needed it”. “I think people don’t quite realise that the first two jabs do start to wane,” he said.

Roberts, from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, said that he was concerned that the first priority groups will not all have received their Covid booster jabs by Christmas, warning that this could start to filter through into hospitalisation and death numbers in the next few days. “My worry is that, at the current rate, we’re still not going to complete the first priority groups one to nine until mid-January,” he told BBC Radio 4.

“And that’s going to mean that there’s going to be a lot of mixing over Christmas with festive behaviour before and then on the day of people who haven’t got that extra protection from the booster, which really does make a huge difference. The analysis that we’re getting from Israel is that it will probably reduce deaths by 80 or 90% even. So it’s important that we get on with it as quickly as possible.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “It is vital people come forward as quickly as possible – there are appointments available across the country and people can book in through the national booking service or use one of the hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites.”

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Group hails IG as mother accused Hospital of stealing Placenta

The Inspector General of Police, (IG) Kayode Egbetokun has received praises for the prompt arrest of suspects accused of stealing the placenta of a new born baby in privated hospital located in Kwara State. The suspects were taken from Ilofa to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
In a statement signed by NHRC’s official, Mr Taiwo Adeleye said the arrest of the suspects was an important step towards securing justice for the families of Mr Rotimi Williams whose wife accused health officials at a private hospital of stealing the placenta of her new born baby.
The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),a coalition of 130 civil society groups spread across Nigeria on Thursday expressed delight at the arrest of the suspects by the police.
The group said it was aware of plots by some powerful individuals to clog the wheel of justice but was delighted that the IG has brought hope to the despairing family. It called for full investigation that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of all culprits.
Few days ago, Mrs Williams accused the management of Cottage hospital, Ilofa, Kwara State of failing to account for the placenta of her new born baby. In complaints lodged with the NHRC, Mrs Williams said a nurse, Mrs Alabi took the delivery, one nurse Adeloye cleaned up the baby while one Mrs Toyin, a ward attendant claimed she mistakenly threw away the placenta.
“In Nigerian agelong tradition, the placenta is linked to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of a new born baby. There is a customary and agelong way of burying placenta of which every medical staff is aware.The disappearance of a baby’s placenta is a source of eternal trauma for the parents and a prelude to impugn the future of the child based on timeless tradition and beliefs,” the NHRC said.
The Coalition said the placenta could be stolen for rituals, adding that stealing a placenta is like killing the child or using the child for ritual by other means The group said it would follow-up the case “day and night” to ensure justice is done. The NHRC said Mrs Toyin brought out the mother’s bags from the labour room but failed to take the placenta along.
The rights group said one Mrs Ayoni Awolusi in the course of the delivery, claimed she was to be on duty but was absent. The medical personnel expected to be on dury was Dr. Ajibola. NHRC said Mrs Williams put to bed around 7pm on Sunday May 12 but discovered the missing placenta very early on Monday 13th, May.
The group called on the IG to intensify the probe and ensure every one connected with the gory episode is brought to justice

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AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccines from market as demand reduces

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Covid vaccine Vaxzevria, one of the first produced in the deadly pandemic, citing “commercial reasons” following a slump in demand.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson added in a statement.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

AstraZeneca rapidly developed the successful Covid-19 jab during the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the first half of 2020.

Vaxzevria, developed alongside Oxford University, was at first offered at cost but Astra decided in late 2021 to sell it for profit.

But the world pivoted towards mRNA vaccines, particularly the one produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German peer BioNTech, after rare blood-clot problems with Astra’s jab increased public hesitancy about taking it.

Sales collapsed further as global Covid restrictions were fully lifted worldwide and the world emerged from the global health crisis.

The AstraZeneca spokesperson said the group had begun the process from taking it off the market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region.

The company will work with other regulators globally to start market authorisation withdrawals for the Vaxzevria “where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”.

The spokesperson said that, according to independent estimates, “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone” and more than three billion doses were supplied globally.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. ”

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NMA lauds Police for arresting fake doctor in Lagos

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has commended the Nigerian Police Force for arresting an alleged fake medical doctor.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos, said the arrest will strengthen the association’s fight against quackery in the medical profession.

Olowojebutu explained that medical quackery was a dangerous practice that posed a threat to the well-being of citizens and the delivery of quality healthcare in the state, and country.

“The arrest is a welcome development for the health sector; we would expose these quacks and ensure that Lagos does not suffer further morbidity and mortality from their nefarious activities.

“We are glad that our work on anti-quackery has started yielding progress as we are determined to weed out quacks from the medical profession,” he said.

The chairman pledged that NMA Lagos, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Health Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, HEFAMAA, and police, would eradicate quacks from the state.

According to him, the association would hold an anti-quackery summit soon, after which it would present a white paper to the Lagos State Government on anti-quackery.

Olowojebutu warned hospitals to refrain from employing staff whose certificates and licences had not been verified by the MDCN to safeguard the health of the populace.

The 37-year-old medical practitioner with suspected forged certificates was arrested by police at Skylink Medical Centre, Elepe-Ikorodu.

The police said they arrested the suspect, who claimed to be the managing director of the health facility, based on intelligence gathered by the command through members of the Elepe community concerning the activities of the suspect.

The police recovered two suspected forged certificates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, after searching for the facility.

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