Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
8 April 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- New guidance issued yesterday recommends that under-30s in the UK should be offered an alternative vaccine to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, after a review found a potential link to rare blood clots. The regulator said there was not yet proof that the jab caused the clots, but the link was getting firmer.
- 79 cases of rare blood clots have been identified among people who had been given the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of which 19 died.
- Downing Street said that the UK vaccination programme was “on track” and expressed confidence about the vaccine supply, including Moderna and Pfizer jabs, so long as the supplies came through as scheduled. The UK is due to receive 9.5m Pfizer and Moderna doses by mid-June, enough to give a first dose to under-30s.
- In Northern Ireland, 40–44-year-olds will be able to book an appointment for a jab from midday.
- The roll-out of the Moderna vaccine has started in Scotland and Wales.
- Welsh Labour has promised to train 12,000 new medical staff for the NHS if it wins the 6 May election.
- The European Medicine Agency said there was a link between rare blood clots in the brain and the AZ jab. The EMA did not change its guidance for who should take the vaccine, claiming that the benefits still outweigh the risks.
- The G20 has extended its offer of temporary debt relief to low-income countries hard hit by the coronavirus.
- Belgium has announced it will stop giving the AZ vaccine to people under the age of 56.
- Italy and Spain have stopped the use of the AZ jab in the under-60s. Italy will give the AZ vaccine on a “preferential basis” only to those over 60.
- France has recommended the AZ jab be given only to those aged 55 or over, and in Germany it is recommended for those over 60.
- A research study by Imperial College London, commissioned by the government, has found that infections have fallen by roughly two-thirds since February before levelling off, however deaths have not followed the same pattern.
- Recruiters have reported the first upturn in permanent staff appointments since December.
- June Raine, CEO, MHRA, said that the risk of having a blood clots due to the vaccine, based on the current data, works out to around four people in a million having a clot, or one in 250,000.
- According to dynamic modelling by University College London (UCL), the UK will pass the threshold for herd immunity on Monday. The protection rate is estimated to reach 73.4 per cent, in contrast with an Imperial College model suggesting 34 per cent protection by the end of March.
- In response to the news on the AZ jab, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “I’m concerned that this statement by the MHRA will lead to a lack of confidence in the AstraZeneca jab … this is going to be a real blow to people taking the vaccine.”
- “[T]he change to guidance on the AZ vaccine] decision is a severe blow to the public’s vaccine confidence, which is already fragile,” said Dr Chris Papadopoulos, principal lecturer in public health at the University of Bedfordshire.
- Politico reports that a quarter of the public think vaccine passports will reduce civil liberties, although half think they won’t negatively affect personal freedoms, according to research due to be published by King’s College London and the University of Bristol later this week.
- The Telegraph reports the government is considering attaching a sunset clause to the legislation permitting the use of domestic COVID status certificates in Britain to make them “explicitly temporary”.