AstraZeneca warning: Moment vaccine protection begins to wane uncovered by scientists

Omicron: Dr Hopkins discusses AstraZeneca's protection

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The study found that the immunity that was provided after getting two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine begins to wane three months after receiving the second dose. The research was conducted by looking at the data of Covid cases in Scotland and Brazil by looking at the adults in both countries who got two doses of the UK vaccine. 

These findings suggest the need for booster programs to help maintain protection from severe disease in those vaccinated with Oxford- AstraZeneca, according to experts.

Researchers looked at data for two million people in Scotland and 42 million people in Brazil and found that the decline of the effectiveness of the vaccine begins at around three months after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.

Looking at Scotland, when compared with two weeks after receiving a second dose, people are five times more likely of being hospitalized or die from COVID-19 nearly five months after being fully vaccinated.

However, the drop off begins at the three-month mark, when the risk of hospitalization and death is twice that of two weeks after the second dose.

This risk is raised threefold within four months after the second vaccine dose. Meanwhile, scientists also noted similar numbers in Brazil.

While they were conducting the tests, the dominant variant was different in each country – Delta in Scotland and Gamma in Brazil.

This suggests that one cause for this drop in effectiveness could be because of the vaccine waning and the impact of variants.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute and EAVE II study lead, said: “Vaccines have been a key tool in fighting the pandemic, but waning in their effectiveness has been a concern for a while.

By identifying when waning first starts to occur in the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine, it should be possible for governments to design booster programs that can ensure maximum protection is maintained.

“If eligible for a booster and you have not had yet had one, I would highly recommend that you book one soon.”

Professor Vittal Katikireddi at the University of Glasgow said: “Our analyses of national datasets from both Scotland and Brazil suggest that there is a considerable waning of effectiveness for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, with protection against severe COVID-19 falling over time.

“We studied two million people in Scotland and over 42 million people in Brazil who had received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“More than four months after receiving a second dose, the risk of experiencing either a COVID-19 hospitalization or death was approximately five times greater than the period of maximum vaccine protection after accounting for changes in infection rates and a range of other factors.

“Our work highlights the importance of getting boosters, even if you’ve had two doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, as soon as you are able to.”

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