World Spacing out Pfizer Covid shots gives antibody boost
Children as young as 12 could be vaccinated in Australia
Australia's drug regulator, the TGA, is currently assessing an application from Pfizer to have its jab approved in the country for that age group. The vaccine has already been approved for children over 12 in countries such as the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, France and Italy. © Provided by Daily Mail ( Trials for children under 12 are ongoing to determine safety and dosage, with results due in a few months and a decision in the US expected in early 2022. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said vaccinating teenagers was crucial to securing freedom.
A longer gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine makes the body's immune system produce more infection-fighting antibodies, UK researchers have found.
The government-funded work is published in a pre-print paper not yet peer reviewed.
Experts say the findings support Britain's decision on dosing intervals.
And an eight-week gap may be the sweet spot for tackling the Delta variant of Covid now dominating the UK.
The vaccine was originally authorised for a three-to-four-week gap between doses - but the UK.
What you need to know about mixing COVID vaccines
Several countries have approved mixing COVID vaccines as they seek to boost their inoculation campaigns.Mixing vaccines means administering one brand of vaccine for a patient’s first shot, followed by a vaccine made by a different manufacturer for the second dose. Proponents of the policy believe it can increase the speed and effectiveness of vaccination campaigns.
It was a pragmatic move by government to get more of the population quickly jabbed with at least one dose.
At the time, the UK was experiencing a second wave of Covid and, with limited vaccine stocks, was in a race against the virus.
More recently, because of rising infections caused by the new Delta variant, first identified in India, the interval changed to eight weeks, to hasten second jabs that offer people the best protection against Covid-19.
For the study, the researchers compared the immune responses of 503 NHS staff who received their two shots at different intervals in late 2020 and early 2021, when the Alpha Covid variant, first identified in Kent, was rapidly spreading.
Antibody levels in their blood were measured a month after the second vaccine dose.
Pregnant women still largely ineligible for Pfizer COVID vaccine, despite health authority recommendation
Pregnant women are struggling to get vaccinated against COVID-19, despite health advice recommending they be offered the Pfizer vaccine.In June, updated guidelines from the government's expert advisory panel on vaccines — ATAGI — and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) recommended the Pfizer vaccine be offered at any stage of pregnancy.
The findings suggest:
- both short and long dosing intervals of the Pfizer vaccine generated strong immune responses overall
- but a three-week schedule generated fewer of the neutralising antibodies that can bind the virus and stop it infecting cells than a 10-week interval
- while antibody levels dipped after the first dose, levels of T-cells - a different type of immune cell - remained high
- the longer schedule led to fewer T-cells overall but a higher proportion of a specific type or subset, called helper T-cells, which according to the researchers, supports immune memory
Prof Susanna Duanchie, the joint chief investigator in the Pitch study, at Oxford University, said two doses were better than one but the timing of the second was somewhat flexible depending on the circumstances.
For the UK's current situation, she said: "Eight weeks is about the sweet spot for me, because people do want to get the two vaccine [doses] and there is a lot of Delta out there right now.
Urgent call to get more jabs into arms in Sydney
The NSW premier said Sydney was suffering a 'national emergency' and ordered residents in Cumberland and Blacktown not to leave their areas except for critical work. More vaccines need to be administered in south-west and western Sydney where the bulk of the cases are being recorded, she said. 'We will be taking to National Cabinet, through the advice of the Chief Health Officer, our strong recommendation that consideration be given to at least having more people having at least one dose of the vaccine which reduces transmission,' she said.
"Unfortunately, I can't see this virus disappearing, so you want to balance that against getting the best protection that you can."
Dr Rebecca Payne, one of the study authors, from Newcastle University, said: "Our study provides reassuring evidence that both dosing schedules generate robust immune responses against Sars-CoV-2 after two doses.
"We now need to carry out more follow-up studies to understand the full clinical significance of our findings."
Real-world data from Public Health England shows the Pfizer vaccine is effective at reducing levels of serious disease, hospital admissions and death, even after one dose.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "The findings from this latest Pitch study are hugely significant not just for the UK but for the world, helping us better understand the mechanics behind our immune response to Covid-19 and the importance of getting both doses of the vaccine.
"As we raced to offer a vaccine to all adults, we took the [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] JCVI's advice to shorten the dosing interval from 12 to eight weeks, to help protect more people against the Delta variant.
"This latest study provides further evidence that this interval results in a strong immune response and supports our decision.
"I urge every adult to get both doses of the vaccine, protect yourself and those around you, and we are looking to offer millions of the most vulnerable a booster jab from September to ensure this protection is maintained."
Walk-up shots, priority for supermarket workers in western Sydney .
Walk-in AstraZeneca appointments will be available at five locations across Cumberland Council over the next two weeks in response to rising case numbers in the city's west.Walk-up vaccine appointments and priority access for more frontline workers will be introduced across western and south-west Sydney this week in an attempt to boost the area's vaccination coverage amid high case numbers.