A: The UK stands by its decision to recommend this effective vaccine for all age groups. This was also the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency.
Clinical trials proved that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produces an immune response, that is it encourages the body to make antibodies against Covid-19, in people aged 65 and over, and that it is safe in all age groups. Should the vaccinated person come into contact with the infection, these antibodies help fight it off.
This shows the vaccine is working as it should.
Some European countries focused on the fact that too few people over 65 in the trial contracted Covid-19 so the vaccine’s exact effectiveness could not be measured.
They said it was this insufficient data which was behind their decision. The UK does not agree with that decision.
A small study has suggested this vaccine offers minimal protection against mild disease from the South African variant.
However, this study is small and it is still early days in the roll out of the vaccination, so further research is needed.
The vaccine appears to be highly effective against the dominant strains currently circulating in Wales.
What we can say is that there is evidence that it does prevent severe illness and hospitalisations and that is an important level of protection.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said today (08/02/21) that a booster vaccination may be needed in future, but that is not known yet.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being used by our GP surgeries in people aged over 80 and in some who are over 65 and clinically extremely vulnerable.
To date, 70,000 people have received their first vaccine dose in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot and we want to keep up that momentum.
Please, if you are offered a vaccination, make every effort to attend your appointment.