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Vaccinated people now make up almost 47% of all new Covid cases, symptom-tracking app claims

Vaccinated Britons make up almost half of Covid cases in the country, a symptom-tracking study suggested today — but there are signs the third wave may have already peaked.

King’s College London scientists estimated 33,118 people were catching the virus daily in the week ending July 10, compared to 33,723 in the previous seven-day spell. 

But 47 per cent are now among those who have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, surging upwards from around a quarter at the start of June. 

This does not mean the jabs do not work. Scientists have always been honest that they are not perfect and millions will still be vulnerable to infection even after getting both doses.

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the study run with health-technology firm ZOE, said the shift in trend was likely because the virus was ‘running out’ of non-jabbed Britons to infect, with nearly 90 per cent of adults now given at least one dose. 

Studies show a single dose is less effective at preventing infection, although it still drastically slashes the risk of hospitalisation and death. Jabs are also slightly weaker against the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, which triggered the third wave.

It comes after a study last night suggested elderly Brits given AstraZeneca’s vaccine are less likely to have Covid antibodies than those who had Pfizer’s. Rigorous trials also showed the British-made jab was slightly weaker. 

Cases had been rising rapidly throughout June, with the easing of restrictions blamed for sparking a third wave — although some scientists said Euro 2020 had led to a surge in infections.

But cases in Scotland have halved in the past-fortnight, the King’s app estimated, coinciding with the national team being knocked out of the football tournament in the group stages.

Professor Spector said they were seeing infections ‘plateau’ across the country but the rate of decline was slower than during the second wave. Earlier this week he predicted they may have already peaked.  

Surveillance data shows almost half of cases are now being spotted among Britons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine (orange line), while they are dropping among the un-vaccinated (blue line). Professor Spector suggested this may be the case because the virus is 'running out' of un-vaccinated people to infect

Surveillance data shows almost half of cases are now being spotted among Britons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine (orange line), while they are dropping among the un-vaccinated (blue line). Professor Spector suggested this may be the case because the virus is ‘running out’ of un-vaccinated people to infect

Test and Trace data published today showed cases surged by 43 per cent last week. They said there were 194,000 positive tests in the week to July 7, the highest since late January when the second wave was starting to run out of steam

Test and Trace data published today showed cases surged by 43 per cent last week. They said there were 194,000 positive tests in the week to July 7, the highest since late January when the second wave was starting to run out of steam

 

People given AstraZeneca’s Covid jab ‘are LESS likely to develop antibodies’

Elderly Britons given AstraZeneca‘s vaccine are less likely to have Covid antibodies than those who had Pfizer‘s, a study has suggested. 

Imperial College London researchers found fewer than 85 per cent of over-80s had detectable levels of the virus-fighting proteins two weeks after their second AZ jab. 

By contrast, the proportion of over-80s with antibodies after getting the second Pfizer vaccine was almost 98 per cent.

The findings came from Britain’s largest surveillance study, known as REACT-2, which randomly tests blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Britons.

Although antibodies are just one part of the overall immune response to Covid, experts said the study results were not totally surprising. 

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at Reading University, told MailOnline the British jab was less likely to spark immunity because it relied on a weakened cold virus. 

In some cases the body may attack this virus instead of the Covid proteins on its surface, which results in the jab failing to spark Covid immunity, he said. But Pfizer’s jab does not have this problem because it uses a completely different technology. 

In trials of the jabs, AstraZeneca’s vaccine was also found to be slightly weaker at preventing symptomatic Covid infection. 

But real-world analysis of Britain’s vaccine rollout has shown that both vaccines are extremely effective at stopping severe illness and death.

Even against the Indian variant, they were both shown to reduce the risk of being hospitalised with the virus by more than 90 per cent. 

Scientists have raised concerns the Covid symptom study — which relies on daily reports from more than a million Britons — is no longer a ‘reliable enough guide’.

No other survey has yet to point to a downturn in cases, although official figures do back up claims that Scotland’s outbreak is falling. 

Britain yesterday recorded more than 42,000 cases for the first time since mid-January, when the second wave was beginning to die down. Ministers fear this could hit the 100,000 figure before August. 

It came as Test and Trace figures published today found cases had surged by 43 per cent in the week to July 7, after 194,000 new infections were recorded over the seven-day period.

A breakdown of the latest ZOE/King’s figures revealed cases were up by two fifths among those who have received at least one dose, but down by a fifth in people who have not got the vaccine.

As many as 15,537 infections are occurring every day among people who have got at least one jab, the app suggested.

This was up 40 per cent from 11,084 daily infections a fortnight ago.

Among Britons who had not been jabbed there were estimated to be 17,581 daily infections, a fall of 20 per cent on the previous period.

Professor Spector said: ‘In the UK, new cases in vaccinated people are still going up and soon will outpace un-vaccinated cases. 

‘This is probably because we’re running out of un-vaccinated susceptible people to infect as more and more people get the vaccine.

‘While the figures look worrying, it is important to highlight that vaccines have massively reduced severe infections and post-vaccination Covid is a much milder disease for most people. 

‘The main concern is now the risk of long Covid.’ 

More than 46million Britons — or 87.4 per cent of adults — have got at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. And 35.1million — or 66.7 per cent — have received both doses.

Ministers trumpeted the drive yesterday for being ahead of schedule, after two thirds of Britons received both doses of the vaccine five days before their target of ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19. 

The latest data also estimates cases have dropped by one per cent across the country.

It marks the first fall since May 22 at the end of the second wave, when they dipped by seven per cent to 2,550 new infections a day.

Scotland was a key driver of this week’s fall, with daily infections projected to have nearly halved from 4,780 to 2,760.

It comes just three weeks after their national team crashed out of the Euro 2020 tournament, which has been repeatedly linked to surging infections. 

Professor Spector added: ‘We are seeing the overall incidence rates plateau in the UK with an R value of 1.0, which is good news. 

‘But the rate of decline may be slower this time, as many of the restrictions in place previously will end. The numbers are still high with around 1 in 142 people with Covid, so we’ll keep a close eye on numbers and the effect of the Euro Football Championship in the coming days and weeks.’

Oxford University scientist Professor James Naismith warned yesterday the King’s study may be becoming less reliable. Responding to the daily cases figures, he said: ‘It would suggest that ZOE is not providing a reliable guide to this wave since it had noted a peak of 33,000 cases. 

‘Of course, no measure is perfect and ZOE has proven informative in the past, it may be changes in symptoms and / or behaviour are confounding it.’

In response to his claim, King’s College scientists said they now had very few contributors who had not been vaccinated. They added that they were more confident in their figures for those who have received at least one dose. 

‘Pingdemic’ chaos with record 520,000 alerts sent by NHS app last week as minister admits No10 is ‘concerned’ millions may have to take time off work to self-isolate 

NHS England data showed a record 520,000 alerts were sent by the app last week, telling people they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive

NHS England data showed a record 520,000 alerts were sent by the app last week, telling people they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive

The NHS Covid contact-tracing app sent out a record 520,000 self-isolation alerts last week, official figures revealed today amid mounting concerns over the chaos triggered by the ‘pingdemic’.

The number of ‘pings’ dished out by the software in the week ending July 7 was the highest since data was first published in January, and was up 46 per cent on the previous seven-day spell.

Fears have been raised that the software could spark a ‘pingdemic’, with millions alerted they have been near someone who tested positive for the virus and asked to stay home.

Businesses have warned that with workers forced to take time off, supermarket shelves could be left empty and mountains of rubbish may pile up in the street.

But ministers are not planning to water down the app because of mounting concern over rising case numbers, it was claimed today.

Infections have soared over the past weeks, with some experts attributing the sharp rise to England’s progress in the Euros.

Government officials have been tasked with tweaking the software to reduce the number of people who are ‘pinged’ and told to self-isolate.

But sources told The Times that no imminent changes are expected, and that it may only be made weaker on August 16 — the same day quarantine rules end for the fully-vaccinated.

They also claimed a review of the app ordered by the newly-appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid may not amount to anything.

It comes as a car plant in Sunderland is thrown into chaos, with hundreds of workers told they have been exposed to Covid and must self-isolate.

And amid concerns care homes left short-staffed by the app could be putting vulnerable people at risk.

Unions have said factories across the country are on the verge of shutting down because of pings from the app.


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