As Covid infection rates remain high across the country and people continue to lose their lives, we take a look at how the vaccines are working, antibody levels across the UK and how quickly protection is wearing off
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According to the latest government data available, over the past week 425,303 tested positive for the viruswith 1,174 people losing their lives in the past seven days after testing positive within the past 28 days.
To date, 91.9% of the population aged 12 and over have received the first dose of vaccine and 86.1% have completed the full vaccination cycle.
Also, 67.6% received their booster shots, but protection against the virus has waned over time – a natural part of the vaccination process.
As infection rates remain high, many people who have received all three doses can still contract the virus. So how do the major vaccines actually work? What are the antibody levels like in different parts of the UK and how long are we protected after a vaccination?
New data was released on April 6th looking at how antibody levels compare across the different parts of the UK detailed below.
How does the Covid vaccine work?
When looking at how that Covid vaccinations For work, it’s important to remember that more than one type is used, each functioning in slightly different ways.
One of the most widespread are the mRNA vaccines, which are the technology used in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech models.
They contain genetic material from the virus – the spike protein on its surface – which relays information to the cells in our body about how to make a protein found only in the virus.
Cells in the body make copies of it before destroying the genetic material that was brought into the body by the vaccine.
Your body realizes the protein doesn’t belong in it, so it builds things called T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, which in turn remember how to fight the virus if you ever get infected with it again.
Because not all of the virus is used in the vaccine, it cannot give you the virus and after a few days your body will naturally clear it.
The other version commonly used in the UK is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This works slightly differently than the mRNA vaccines, although aspects of these are very similar.
Like mRNA, it delivers the genetic code of the spike protein on the surface of the virus to the body and once in the body it is produced, allowing the body to recognize it and trigger an immune response.
What are the latest antibody rates?
As the pandemic has lasted, the general immunity of the UK population has risen steadily.
This is due to a combination of both vaccines and the simple fact that more and more people have contracted the virus and survived, resulting in their body’s immune system being well tuned to fight the virus.
To reach the antibody threshold, adults must have antibodies at a threshold of 179 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
The latest data, released by the Office For National Statistics on April 6, considers data for the week beginning March 14. They said that the percentage of the population thought to have antibodies up to 179 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) was as follows:
- in England 98.8% of the adult population
- in Wales 98.8% of the adult population
- in Northern Ireland 99.0% of the adult population
- in Scotland 98.9% of the adult population
- in the UK, the percentages for children ranged from 95.9% to 97.2% for 12-15 year olds and from 76.6% to 85.3% for 8-11 year olds
In England, all age groups were measured in the high 90s, down to the 8-11 year olds, who scored lower at just 83.6%. All age groups over 50 had scores of at least 99%.
These figures differ slightly from previously released data for the week commencing February 28th, when each of the four nations in the UK had antibody rates in their adult population as follows:
- 99.0% in England
- 98.9% in Wales
- 98.8% in Northern Ireland
- 99.0% in Scotland
How effective is the vaccine?
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Studies have found that Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines can prevent the virus 95% of the time and provide a similar level of protection to people of all ages and ethnicities.
The World Health Organization reports that the Oxford vaccine has a 76% effectiveness rate in preventing symptomatic infections, depending on certain conditions.
However, she emphasizes the following: “Due to the different approaches in the design of the respective studies, it is impossible to compare vaccines directly, but overall, all vaccines included in the WHO emergency list are highly effective in preventing serious infections due to illness and hospitalization COVID-19.”
How long are you protected?
It is now clear that the protection you are offered from all vaccines diminishes over time, which is why new booster vaccinations are offered for vulnerable and elderly people in the UK.
For those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, Yale Medicine recommends that adults over the age of 18 receive a booster shot six months after completing their primary vaccination course.
Generally, the number used is six months for full protection from a vaccine before a booster may be needed.
However, a UKHSA blog reports that there is protection against symptomatic illness 20 weeks after two doses of the Oxford vaccine omicron Variant can go down to 0% in some cases and down to 10% at Pfizer after 25 weeks.
However, it is believed that even after a booster dose, protection falls to around 30% to 40% after 15 weeks.
The symptomatic disease is generally mild.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-covid-antibody-rates-how-26646096 New Covid antibody rates, how vaccine works, immunity explained