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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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Health

AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Health

Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Health

Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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