The one-dose vaccine strategy is working in the UK – for now

In a news release yesterday, UK health authorities claim that a Public Health England real-world study that has gathered data since January has found that “the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have been “highly effective” in reducing coronavirus infections and severe illness among elderly people in Britain.”

In fact, according to British Health Secretary Matt Hancock , “the protection that you get from catching COVID 35 days after a first jab is even slightly better for the Oxford jab than for Pfizer”, which is of course the widely-hyped coronavirus vaccine getting all that glittering Israeli data.

The bottom line, this study concludes, is that both vaccines “are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years and over,” which is what is what’s most needed at this particular time in our race against the virus variants.

And which is why so many health authorities – like here in BC – are beginning to use a similar strategy to try to cover as many people as possible with a single shot before trying to vaccinate everyone with a 2nd shot.

Time will be the sole judge, of course, as to whether this is the best long-term strategy – some experts fear that this strategy raises the risk of variants emerging when so many people have only “partial” immunity until they receive their 2nd dose of vaccine – but for now, it is clearly the best way to lower the rate of severe illness, hospitalization, and death in the most vulnerable population, and that will buy us time to see whether that strategy is still the best one going forward.