English care homes could lose 70,000 staff over mandatory Covid jab.
The government estimates that between 3% and 12% of staff may resist getting jab – meaning they will lose their jobs. (The Guardian report)
Scientists have backed proposals for Covid boosters in the autumn after blood tests on hundreds of people revealed that protective antibodies can wane substantially within weeks of second vaccine shots being given.
Falls in antibodies after vaccination are expected and do not necessarily mean people are more vulnerable to disease, but the researchers are concerned that if the declines persist the effectiveness of the vaccines may diminish.
The UCL Virus Watch study found that antibodies generated by two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines started to wane as early as six weeks after the second shot, in some cases falling more than 50% over 10 weeks.
The researchers stress that both vaccines are extremely effective against Covid, but say the findings support plans for a booster campaign this autumn, particularly for those who were vaccinated early and with the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot.
A conservative radio host in Tennessee who urged listeners not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has changed track and called on listeners to get the shot, after contracting the virus and ending up in hospital in “very serious condition”.
In a statement posted to social media, Phil Valentine’s family detailed his condition and said: “Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
The family also said the WTN host had “never been an ‘anti-vaxer’”, but “regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon”.
Valentine, 61, did, however, play down the need for vaccines and perform a song called Vaxman, to the tune of Taxman, George Harrison’s Beatles number against government taxation.
“Let me tell you how it will be,” he sang, “and I don’t care if you agree, ‘Cause I’m the Vaxman, yeah I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.”
As the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels steep rises in cases across the US, rural and mostly Republican-run states trail in vaccination numbers and have emerged as hotspots for infection, straining health resources.
Republican politicians and influential rightwing broadcasters including Fox News hosts have begun to call for people to get the shot.
BioNTech (22UAy.DE) wants to build on its success in COVID-19 by developing the first vaccine for malaria based on mRNA technology and aims to start clinical testing by the end on 2022, in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito-borne illness.
The Mainz, Germany-based company, which developed a COVID-19 vaccine with its partner Pfizer (PFE.N), said on Monday it is also exploring vaccine production in Africa as part of efforts to expand manufacturing capacity and increase global access.
"The response to the pandemic has shown that science and innovation can transform people's lives when all key stakeholders work together towards a common goal," said BioNTech Chief Executive and co-founder Ugur Sahin.
Messenger RNA vaccines prompt the human body to make a protein that is part of the virus, triggering an immune response. They are also quicker to develop than traditional vaccines and can be adapted relatively easily.
Malaria is a complex infection caused by a parasite that evades recognition by the immune system, said Sahin, adding the goal is to develop a vaccine that makes the parasite visible and attackable from the very beginning.