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Covid vaccination programmes have officially kicked off in the UK last week with the distribution of the Pfizer jab. The vaccine, which researchers found was up to 95 percent effective, has since made its way through hundreds of thousands of people. But the process is still rather complicated with a few side effects being reported. The vaccine has to be administered in two doses, but recent data reveals that it could be administered with just a single dose. If true, it could mean a major ease on pressure administering it worldwide and allowing up twice the number of people to be vaccinated.
The Food and Drug Administration has provided an emergency authorisation for a vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
These vaccines have shown impressive results in large-scale trials with tens of thousands of participants demonstrating a 95 percent efficacy in preventing COVID-19.
The vaccines are supposed to be administered in two doses with a prime and then a booster 21 days or 28 days apart.
However, data has revealed that the vaccine could in fact only been administered once with a single dose.
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Health experts declare this data of a single dose vaccine could be a game changer allowing vaccinations to be given to up to twice the number of people helping to ease pressure on countries where vaccines may be in shortage or may take years to resolve.
In the UK, government policy has mandated an approach with vaccine rollout to start with the elderly and most vulnerable and then move down.
Health workers are currently focussed on the first of nine stages, as they vaccinate care home residents aged over 80 and their carers.
The remaining eight will cover ages 75 to 50, with an exception for vulnerable children and younger adults.
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The makers of the three vaccines that seem closest to widespread distribution which include AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna estimate a total production capacity of 5.3 billion doses for 2021, which could cover between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people worldwide.
In Europe, the 27 member states of the European Union together with five other rich countries have pre-ordered the vaccine.
These include options, written into their contracts, to order extra doses, and negotiations have been disclosed but not yet finalised.
These countries account for only around 13 percent of the global population.
For both vaccines, the sharp drop in disease in the vaccinated group started about 10 to 14 days after the first dose, before receiving the second.
Moderna reported the initial dose to be 92.1 percent efficacious in preventing COVID-19 starting two weeks after the initial shot, when the immune system effects from the vaccine kick in, before the second injection on the 28th day.
The question of whether a single dose of the vaccine should be administered have baffled medical staff.
However, the data has proved to be suggestive although currently limited with important questions still looming.
Traditional vaccines consist of the following ingredients, according to the Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Project:
- Aluminium (as aluminium salts such as aluminium sulphate, phosphate or potassium aluminium sulphate)
- Squalene oil (MF59 – only used in one flu vaccine)
- Thiomersal (a harmless mercury product no-longer widely used)
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