Joesph Carroll receives the first of two injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Hurley Clinic in London, Britain. Picture: POOL VIA REUTERS/AARON CHOWN
Joesph Carroll receives the first of two injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Hurley Clinic in London, Britain. Picture: POOL VIA REUTERS/AARON CHOWN

Bengaluru — Britain must vaccinate 2-million people a week to avoid yet another surge of coronavirus, a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has concluded.

The UK has had more than 71,000 deaths from the coronavirus and more than 2.3-million cases of Covid-19 infections as of late Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

“The most stringent intervention scenario with tier 4 [restrictions] England-wide and schools closed during January and 2-million individuals vaccinated per week, is the only scenario we considered that reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave”, the study said.

“In the absence of substantial vaccine rollout, cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths in 2021 may exceed those in 2020.”

An accelerated uptake of 2-million vaccinated per week “is predicted to have a much more substantial impact”, it added. The study has yet to be peer-reviewed.

Responding to the study, a UK health department spokesperson said that “over the coming weeks and months the rate of vaccination will increase as millions more doses become available and the programme continues to expand”.

The British government has said it has secured early access to 357-million vaccines doses through agreements with several developers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers have said a variant of the coronavirus, which could be up to 70% more transmissible, is spreading rapidly in Britain, though it is not thought to be more deadly or to cause more serious illness.

That prompted tight social mixing restriction measures for London and southeast England, while plans to ease curbs over Christmas across the nation were dramatically scaled back or scrapped altogether.

Media reports over the weekend said Britain will roll out the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from January 4, with approval by the country’s medical regulator expected within days.

Earlier this month, Britain became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. The British government said on Thursday that 600,000 people had received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Reuters

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