Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approved for 12 to 15 year olds
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Pfizer has produced one of three available Covid jabs in the UK, alongside Moderna and AstraZeneca. The latest wave of Covid has prompted tens of thousands of cases a day, and the Pfizer vaccine has proved vital in fracturing the link between infection and death. But scientists have identified a “sweet spot” when the jab is at it’s most effective.
What is the ideal time to get the Pfizer jab?
The Government has championed a 12-week vaccination schedule since it initiated its programme early this year.
At the time, scientists believed leaving a three-month gap provided the best possible immunity.
The decision to make this policy came at the behest of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Evidence showed antibody response after this interval was 3.5 times higher than those who had the jab after the initial proposed three-week wait.
The decision also allowed the Government to preserve vaccine supplies.
Now, however, scientists believe the window is most effective when reduced by a month.
The “sweet spot” for the Pfizer vaccine candidate is eight weeks, a gap that allows it to curate a more effective immune response.
Research funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) found the gap was more effective than four and ten-week alternatives.
In the 503 health workers they recruited, researchers found both schedules produced effective antibody and T-cell responses.
Longer schedules, however, encouraged higher antibody levels and more “helper” T-cells.
These are vital for fighting infections and are required in almost every adaptive immune response.
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Waiting eight weeks allowed even more of these cell types to breed.
The delay also allowed the body to produce antibodies adapted to Covid variants.
The Government had changed its advice to eight weeks in May, as the Delta variant surged through the country.
Researchers from the study, also known as Pitch, said the decision balances the “wider issues”.
Susanna Duanchie, a global research professor at the University of Oxford’s National Institute for Health Research and Pitch joint chief investigator, said there are still other issues to balance around the jab.
Some of these include vaccine supply and how many Covid restrictions the Government intends to keep.
Professor Daunchie said the highly effective eight-week mark is especially vital during the Delta wave.
She added she couldn’t see the virus receding yet, and advised people to get “the best protection that you can.”
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