The United Kingdom, facing a surge in cases, authorizes a new vaccine



British hospitals are overwhelmed by the upsurge in Covid-19 cases.


© REUTERS – Andrew Winning
British hospitals are overwhelmed by the upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

The United Kingdom is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, attributed to the appearance of a more contagious variant of the virus. The Minister of Health is due to speak on Wednesday, December 30, about a possible strengthening of health restrictions. In this context, the British drug agency gave fire to the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.

More than 53,000 new cases recorded Tuesday, December 29, and a number of hospitalizations which continues to increase in the United Kingdom. A runaway as evidenced by photos published in the British press. In London or Birmingham, ambulances are forced to park in front of already saturated hospitals. Some doctors assure that they will soon have to choose the patients to be treated as a priority. The Daily Mail reports, for example, that patients in London could be transferred to establishments in Yorkshire.

The number of Covid-19 patients has passed the peak of the first wave in April. The virus is not limited to London and the South East, it spreads. Under these conditions, the Ministry of Health is considering the adoption of even stricter health measures. Among them, a possible postponement of the reopening of schools. In order to stop the progression of the epidemic, scientists and doctors are calling for a general containment.

Green light for AstraZeneca’s new vaccine

In this context, the British Medicines Agency (MHRA) has given the green light to the highly anticipated anti-Covid-19 vaccine developed by the British group AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed news ” really fantastic “. With this vaccine, the authorities intend to speed up the vaccination campaign. It will be used from January 4.

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Inexpensive and practical, it has many advantages. The first is its cost: around 2.5 euros per dose, much cheaper than most other vaccines.

Its other advantage is its ease of storage: it can be stored at the temperature of a refrigerator, between two and eight degrees Celsius, unlike vaccines of Modern and of Pfizer/BioNTech which can only be stored long term at very low temperature, at -20 ° and -70 ° Celsius. Large-scale vaccination is therefore facilitated by this simpler storage process.

Lower efficiency

The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million doses from the British group AstraZeneca, which also ensures that its vaccine is also effective against the new variant of Covid-19, just discovered in England! But more extensive testing is underway.

The only downside for this AstraZeneca vaccine is that it is less effective than others. In its interim results of clinical trials in November, the laboratory announced an efficiency of 70% against 90% for Pfizer and Moderna. Consequently, it may be necessary to inject two doses to achieve the same efficacy as the others.

► To read also: Covid-19: vaccination kick-off in the EU, the elderly open the ban

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