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The Covid vaccines are working

5 min read
Getting jabbed remains our best hope for a return to normality.
Lockdowns are back in continental Europe. Austria has been at the forefront, first locking down just those who have not been vaccinated, then imposing a national lockdown for everyone. Other governments have imposed new restrictions with the possibility of full lockdowns if the situation does not improve. Weren't vaccines supposed to put an end to all this?

Firstly, vaccines can only directly protect those who have actually been vaccinated. Moreover, it has been clear since the Delta variant of Covid became dominant that a single vaccine dose does not really cut it – two doses are required to give a good level of immunity. For many countries in Europe, between a quarter and a third of the population have not been fully vaccinated. Second, immunity – whether from injection or infection – seems to wane over time. By just how much is still unclear, but it seems that millions of people in most countries are still susceptible to Covid, either because they have never had the disease and have never been vaccinated or because their immunity has faded. That said, while immunity to infection seems to decline markedly over time, vaccines still provide a high level of protection against serious illness and death. So even if you had your second jab six months ago or more, your likelihood of ending up in hospital is still much lower than if you have never been vaccinated at all.

The good news is that a third dose of the vaccine appears not just to boost immunity back to the level achieved soon after a second dose, but also actually to produce even greater immunity. This was demonstrated in Israel, which led the world in vaccination but then saw that immunity tail off. Third doses have had a dramatic impact on the numbers of people being infected, hospitalised and dying. In the UK, over 26 per cent of people over 12 years old have already had a third dose – and those triple-jabbed people are in the most vulnerable groups. The boosters should help keep a lid on hospitalisations…
Rob Lyons
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