Much furore has been made over the government’s decision to withhold the second dose of coronavirus vaccines in a bid to inoculate as many people in the UK as possible. Speaking to Piers and Susanna this morning, Matt Hancock defended the government’s decision. As he explained, protection comes two to three weeks after the first jab.
How long will immunity last after the second dose?
“Since these vaccines have only been in use for a short period of time, unfortunately, our knowledge surrounding how long immunity will last following one, or both doses of the vaccine is rather limited,” explains Dr Chris Morris, a practicing GP and Medical Director HealthHero to the Express.co.uk.
“Everything depends on immunologic memory, and scientists have not yet been able to systematically measure it in relation to COVID-19.”
Public Health England announced protective immunity from the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and that we’ve got up to 12 weeks to give the second dose to maximise the immune response.
No statement has been made on how long immunity will last following both doses however, neither for the AstraZeneca, nor the Pfizer of Moderna vaccines.
“Over the coming months, experts will be monitoring the vaccine and what happens next, but it may be some years before we know the answers to these questions,” notes Dr Morris.
Steps you can take to the break the chain of transmission
For now, it is incumbent on everyone to watch out for the warning signs of COVID-19 and self-isolate if they spot them.
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the health body.
How to respond
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.