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Vaccine alone unlikely to contain Covid infections in the UK – study

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Vaccination alone is unlikely to achieve herd immunity and fully contain the virus – but gradual reopening and high vaccine uptake could minimise future waves – a new study suggests.

In England the road map out of lockdown, involves the slow and gradual relaxation of measures, with the majority of restrictions being eased after the most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

The modelling study was done before early real-world data from vaccination rollout studies.

Our modelling suggests that vaccination rollout in adults alone is unlikely to completely stop Covid-19 cases spreading in the UK

Because preliminary findings suggest the vaccine offers some protection against infection, but the exact level is unknown, researchers analysed a range of levels of protection against infection.

Professor Matt Keeling, from  the University of Warwick, said: “Our modelling suggests that vaccination rollout in adults alone is unlikely to completely stop Covid-19 cases spreading in the UK.

“We also found that early sudden release of restrictions is likely to lead to a large wave of infection, whereas gradually easing measures over a period of many months could reduce the peak of future waves.

“The huge success of the UK’s vaccine programme so far coupled with the Government’s gradual road map for easing restrictions are a cause for optimism.

“However, some measures, such as test, trace, and isolate, good hand hygiene, mask-wearing in high-risk settings, and tracing from super-spreader events, may also be necessary for some time.”

Vaccination may offer a potential exit strategy for the pandemic

/ PA

Vaccination may offer a potential exit strategy for the pandemic and the UK currently ranks third globally for the total number of vaccine doses administered.

The study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases modelled the combined vaccine rollout in the UK, with different scenarios of relaxing control measures, to predict the R number and deaths and hospital admissions due to Covid-19 from January 2021 to January 2024.

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