PProfessor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the beta variant first identified in South Africa may elude vaccine immunity, but he expects the AstraZeneca vaccine to still deliver a “very high protection” against hospitalization and death.
“The beta variant is also in the UK, and just like the Delta variant, it is able to evade vaccine immunity to some extent,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. .
“It is actually quite effective at evading vaccine immunity, so we would expect it to be able to spread in vaccinated populations.
“We know that people who have received RNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer vaccine, as well as the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, can be infected with the beta variant.”
Asked about the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the beta variant, he said: “There is a really important study, which was conducted in South Africa by Johnson and Johnson, which showed that with just one dose of this vaccine, there was 100% protection. against hospitalization and death.
“The RNA vaccine, Pfizer vaccine, and Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine are given in two doses. The AstraZeneca vaccine is very similar to that of Johnson and Johnson and we would expect the biology to have very high protection against it. hospitalization and death, and I have no doubts that this will be the case, because that is how vaccines work. ”