No cases of blood clots have been found in more than 440,000 people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus in Wales, a study has shown.
Research by Swansea University health data experts looked at vaccinations up to January with 180,000 AstraZeneca doses and 260,000 Pfizer-Biontech.
It follows concerns around Europe which led to some countries pausing their use of the AstraZeneca jab.
The vaccine has been declared safe by the World Health Organization.
The focus of the study was to understand whether reports of a small number of rare blood clotting disorders (venous sinus thromboembolism) reported in Norway and Germany had also been observed in vaccinated individuals in Wales.
Prof Ronan Lyons, lead researcher, said: “This is an important finding about the safety of the vaccines in use in Wales.
“It is very good news for our collective efforts to emerge from this pandemic and save more lives through the vaccination programme.”
The condition is rare, with fewer than one person per month diagnosed in Wales.
More than half of people in England are now thought to have antibodies against coronavirus, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In a sign of the increasing success of the UK’s vaccination programme in protecting the public from the virus, the ONS said it estimated around 55 per cent of the population would test positive for antibodies in the week ending 14 March.
The study looks at the prevalence of antibodies based on a the ONS infection survey of private households. The presence of antibodies suggests a person has had the infection or has been vaccinated against the virus.
The ONS said there was a regional variation for antibodies with the northwest having the highest percentage of people with antibodies at 60 per cent. The southeast had the lowest level with 50 per cent.
As it is a novel disease, inevitably there have been numerous suggestions for treatments for Covid-19, ranging from herbal tonics to the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, as advocated by the former US president. The question is: what treatments work best?
It is not enough just to compare what happened to people who did or did not have the treatment, which may, for example, have been given to healthier patients. The only reliable method is to allocate volunteers at random to either receive the novel treatment or a control, and, if possible, neither they nor the medical team know which. Randomised trials reduce statistical biases and, if they are large enough, researchers can robustly say whether the intervention helps.
The Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy (Recovery) trials began in the UK more than a year ago and have been extraordinarily successful. The world’s largest Covid-19 trial organisation, with about 40,000 hospital patients so far taking part, Recovery takes advantage of the NHS to simultaneously run overlapping trials, so that each patient may be in many studies.
Recovery trials have been hugely influential. Low-dose dexamethasone is a cheap and widely used steroid that reduced deaths in Covid patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation by 36% (uncertainty interval 19%-49%) and those receiving oxygen by 18% (6%-28%). This finding alone is estimated to have saved 22,000 lives in the UK and more than a million worldwide. Another study showed that for every 25 patients treated with tocilizumab, one additional life would be saved.
The UK has enough vaccine supplies to ensure that Britons can receive their second doses without disruption, NHS England’s medical director for primary care has said.
Weeks after the health service warned that the country will face a “significant reduction” in the availability of coronavirus jabs next month, Dr Nikki Kanani said: “The supply over April is slower, but we know that we will keep going.
“We’ve got enough vaccine to give people the second doses, those second doses are protected, and we’ve got enough vaccine to protect those in the priority cohorts.”
More than 2.5 million people have now received their second dose of a COVID-19 jab – with more than one in three of those taking place in the last week.
About 900,000 people received their final vaccine over the past seven days – about twice as many as the week before.
Covid deaths reduce to lowest Saturday figure in 6 months in UK. Britain has recorded additional 58 covid-related deaths on Saturday and this has risen the figure death within 28 days of a covid positive test to 126,573.
Another 4,715 people were tested positive for the virus, which makes 16% lower than last Saturday’s figure ,5,587, and a figure of 4,329,180 in total.
A week back, Britain recorded 96 deaths. This implying that death cases have dropped by 40% in 7 days and this makes the lowest Saturday record in 6 months.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s rollercoaster ride of a week might be coming to a welcome end. A key phase III clinical trial found the vaccine to be 76% effective at preventing COVID-19, the company announced on 25 March, two days after it was accused of misrepresenting interim results that reported a slightly higher efficacy figure of 79%.
Scientists hope the kerfuffle will not cause lasting damage to the vaccine’s long-term reputation, which could be bolstered by scrutiny — and likely approval — by US drug regulators.
“Overall it’s a win for the world,” says Ann Falsey, a vaccine scientist at the University of Rochester, New York and an investigator on the trial who co-developed its protocol. “The final story is the results for the final analysis are great. They look very similar to the interim analysis.”
The difference between 76% and 79% efficacy is “tiny, and to be expected with the number of cases analysed”, said Peter English, a retired consultant in communicable disease control, in a statement to the UK Science Media Centre.
President Joe Biden opened his first formal news conference Thursday with a nod toward the improving picture on battling the coronavirus, doubling his original goal by pledging that the nation will administer 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of his first 100 days in office.
The administration had met Biden’s initial goal of 100 million doses earlier this month — before even his 60th day in office — as the president pushes to defeat a pandemic that has killed more than 545,000 Americans and devastated the nation’s economy.
More than half of Israel’s population have now received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s health minster announced on Thursday as the state continues to open up its economy.
Israel began rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech jab last December, with residents above 16 eligible for the jab.
Health minister Yuli Edelstein said that 50.07 per cent of the overall population have now received both vaccine doses, and 55.96 per cent have had the first shot.
He warned against complacency, urging people “to follow (health) guidelines so that the coronavirus does not return”.
People are considered fully protected one week after they receive the second dose.