15th century medicine

PMQs: Boris Johnson shuts down Labour attack on vaccines

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Covid alerts were sent out in their thousands this week, telling people they have been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus. A total of 520,194 pings were sent out to app holders in the seven days to July 7. The number is up 46 percent from the previous week as well, with an additional 356,677 alerts sent out. Hundreds of workers at the Nissan car plant in Sunderland have been forced to self isolate as a result of the Covid app.

Up to 900 workers are understood to have been sent home, equating to more than 10 percent of the entire workforce.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government is “concerned” about the number of people off work due to self isolation.

He told LBC Radio: “It is important that we have the app, that we take it seriously, that when we do get those messages we act accordingly, allied auto express but we are going to five further thought to how we can ensure it is a proportionate response.

“We have indicated that for those who have been double vaccinated there are opportunities to take a more proportionate approach.”

Mr Jenrick added that the Government are “concerned about absences as a result of being pinged” by the NHS Covid app.

Some companies have reported they are missing up to 20 percent of their workforce.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said the ultra strict rules are devastating the industry already on its knees due to lockdowns and other restrictions.

Ms Nicholls said: “Around a third of our staff are self isolating at any one time at the moment because they have been pinged.

“The app is pinging more and more people, and that number is going to go up in the coming weeks – the economy is going to grind to a halt.”

In regards to the app, Ms Nicholls said it’s “overzealous” and that “people are just starting to delete it”.

She added: “My timeline is full of people saying they have turned it off because their sister’s wedding is coming up and they don’t want to miss it.”

The swathes of people in self isolation comes as the Government announced it plans to plough on with reopening on July 19, on which all remaining social restrictions are expected to be dropped.

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Can you still get Covid with the vaccine?

In short, yes. You can still catch Covid after both doses of the vaccination as vaccines don’t completely protect against the virus.

Two weeks after the second dose, the current vaccines are about 60 to 80 percent effective, meaning there’s still going to be people catching the illness.

This is why people get flu every year despite the flu jab being widely offered to people around the world – and flu vaccines actually tend to be less effective than those for Covid.

However, most who catch Covid after a double jab will have much milder symptoms and the chance of being hospitalised as a result of the virus significantly decreases.

This doesn’t mean there’s no risk of getting sick, and BBC Presenter Andrew Marr who caught Covid after vaccination described his bout as “very nasty”.

The circulating Delta variant has also slightly upped the chances of people catching Covid after infection, with a marked difference between affectivity for Alpha, first identified in Kent.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 79 percent effective against Delta, compared to 92 percent for Alpha.

For Oxford/AstraZeneca, these figures are 60 percent and 73 percent, respectively.

Sir Peter Horby, who chairs the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), said: “It’s really important for people to realise that, as we increase the vaccination rates and most older people are vaccinated, we will see breakthrough infections.

“That does not mean that vaccines don’t work – breakthroughs were expected – what we wanted to do is prevent hospitalisations and deaths, and the vaccines do that very effectively.”

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