COVID cases are staying “stubbornly high”, with vaccine protection starting to drop among older Brits, an expert has warned today.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Symptom Study App, said infections haven’t really fallen for the past two weeks.
The data, which comes from Brits logging daily symptoms, revealed about 43,000 new cases a day.
He said: “Daily cases of Covid remain stubbornly high but it’s reassuring to see that unlike in previous waves, these rates aren’t yet translating into high numbers of hospitalisations and deaths.
“However, seeing what is happening with increasing deaths in Israel [a rapid increase despite widespread vaccinations] we need to be vigilant.
“Whilst vaccines have helped to reduce the severity of the disease, this stalling in cases suggests that we’re starting to see the protection provided by vaccines waning, meaning more fully vaccinated people could be infected in the future.”
He added: “It looks like the younger ages are dropping slightly and the older ages seem to be increasing slightly and the older ages generally are the fully vaccinated groups.
“While vaccines aren’t working as well as we hoped in terms of stopping infections that are working in stopping severe infections and hospitalisations.
“Cases are likely to remain high for the next few weeks or even possibly months.
“This means your risk of infection is high and even if you’ve been double vaccinated it’s really important you watch out for any new symptoms because we can see the longer it goes from your time of vaccination the less effective these vaccines are.”
Yesterday it was reported another 111 people died, the Government said, while there were 33,904 new lab-confirmed cases in the UK.
Vaccine waning is not a surprise, but is a concern as we near winter and the vulnerable groups the become the least protected once more.
Research from the ZOE scientists found the AstraZeneca jab falls from about 80 per cent protection against infection to just over 65 per cent within five months.
And the Pfizer vaccine drops from nearly 90 per cent protection down to just under 75 per cent by the sixth month.
Many experts were confident the immunity would last for at least six months, but over that point it was uncertain how strong it would be.
And now over 60s will be potentially seeing their protection fall now, around six-eight months on from their jabs.
Earlier this month Sajid Javid confirmed he expected the rollout to begin in September – to protect the vulnerable ahead of winter.
He said: “When it comes to booster jabs we are waiting for the final advice from JCVI, that’s our group of independent clinical advisers, and when we get that advice we will be able to start the booster programme, but I anticipate it will begin in early September, so I’m already making plans for that.”
It comes as new data shows most adults in the UK are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, although levels might be dropping among older age groups.
The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.
It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the virus.
They then remain in the blood at low levels, although these can decline over time to the point that tests can no longer detect them.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are based on a sample of blood test results for the week beginning July 26.
They show that in England an estimated 94.2 per cent of adults are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, up from 91.2 per cent a month ago.
But while the percentages are increasing among younger adults, there are “signs of a decrease among older age groups”, the ONS said.
An estimated 92.8 per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds in England had Covid-19 antibodies in the latest week, down from 94.4 per cent a month earlier.
For people aged 70 to 75, the figure has dropped from 94.9 per cent to 92.9 per cent over the same period. For those aged 80 and over it has fallen from 92.9 per cent to 92.4 per cent.
Source: The Sun