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AstraZeneca, Pfizer vaccines effective after first jab: Study

SEOUL One dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech is significantly effective in preventing infections among people aged 60 and older, data by South Korea showed yesterday.

Data by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 89.7 per cent effective in preventing infection at least two weeks after a first dose was given, while the AstraZeneca shot was 86 per cent effective.

Its analysis is based on more than 3.5 million people in South Korea aged 60 and above for two months from Feb 26 and included 521,133 people who received a first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca shot.

HIGH PROTECTION

There were 1,237 Covid-19 cases in the data and only 29 were from the vaccinated group, the KDCA said.

"It is shown that both vaccines provide a high protection against the disease after the first dose. (People) should get full vaccinations according to recommended schedule, as the protection rate will go up further after a second dose," it said.

The KDCA reported 676 cases as of midnight on Tuesday, bringing the total to 124,945, with 1,847 deaths.

Meanwhile, everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third Covid-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, The Times newspaper reported.

Trials of two options are under way, supervised by England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty, it said.

The first involves vaccines specifically modified to tackle new variants. The second is for a third shot of one of the three versions already in use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna.

More than 34.6 million people have been given a first dose of a vaccine, government statistics showed on Tuesday.

Britain on Tuesday reported 1,946 cases and four deaths. - REUTERS

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