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Single shot of Pfizer jab gives 90% protection after 3 weeks backing up Government’s strategy to delay second dose

A SINGLE shot of the Pfizer vaccine gives 90 per cent Covid protection after 21 days.

New research found just one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab is “highly protective”.

A single shot of the Pfizer vaccine gives 90 per cent Covid protection after 21 days


A single shot of the Pfizer vaccine gives 90 per cent Covid protection after 21 daysCredit: Alamy

It adds more weight to Government reassurances there is no danger in waiting three months for a second jab.

And it comes after a similar revelation on Tuesday that one jab of the Oxford vaccine gives 76 per cent protection after three months – and appears to cut transmission.

The latest study from the University of East Anglia used data from Israel – which has seen a fast paced vaccine rollout.

But the experts warned people’s risk of infection doubled in the first eight days after vaccination – possibly because people become less cautious.


Lead researcher Professor Paul Hunter, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “After day 14 immunity rose gradually day by day to about 90 per cent at day 21 and then didn’t improve any further.

“All the observed improvement was before any second injection.

“This shows that a single dose of vaccine is highly protective, although it can take up to 21 days to achieve this.

“And it supports the UK policy of extending the gap between doses by showing that a single dose can give a high level of protection.”

When the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation announced Britain would bump the delay for second vaccines from three to 12 weeks, it faced global scepticism.

Experts defended the bold call after scorn from The World Health Organisation, EU figureheads, and even initial doubt from Pfizer’s own scientists.

Jonathan Van-Tam, chief medical officer, confidently insisted it was the only “way we save lives” in a “race against time”.

And now the strategy to save as many of Britain’s vulnerable as possible with the first highly effective jab is paying off – with 10 million successfully protected. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “fantastic” milestone today.

A total of 10,021,471 have now been given their first jab, while another 498,962 have been given their second.

It means a total of 374,756 first doses of the vaccine were given out yesterday, along with 2,166 second doses.

Around 90 per cent of people aged 75 and over in England have now received at least one jab as well as every eligible resident in care homes.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, the PM said: “We have today passed the milestone of 10 million vaccinations in the United Kingdom.

“Even if these vaccines cannot make us invulnerable… the evidence increasingly shows our vaccines achieve this crucial objective to reduce death and serious illness from those major strains of Covid that have been subject to research.”

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