Coronavirus latest news – AstraZeneca vaccine 100% effective against severe illness and hospitalisations, study shows

THE AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation, according to a US study.

The manufacturers announced an independent safety committee and an independent neurologist conducted an intense review into the drug after fears it caused blood clots.

The study explored the claims, as well as exploring the odds of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), which is an extremely rare blood clot in the brain.

The ground-breaking study found that the vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness, and was 100 percent effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation.

It comes as Boris Johnson has been urged to lift lockdown early to avoid squandering the benefits of Britain's superspeed vaccine rollout.

As a rebellion showed signs of growing, Tory MPs said the Government is moving too slowly when it comes to lifting the current lockdown measures.

They warned that they were ready to vote against the Government this week when it seeks to extend Covid laws to the end of September, the Daily Mail reported today.

Christopher Snowdon, a free-market think-tank economist, said: "Every extra day of lockdown produces diminishing returns and mounting costs.

"Waiting another two months for hospitality to reopen seems excessive when people will be meeting in their homes regardless of government diktats," he added.

"We should keep a watchful eye on the data, but we should not stick stubbornly to an arbitrary timetable," he went on to say.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Elizabeth Little

    ITALY COVID DEATHS INCREASE

    Italy has recorded another 386 COVID-19 deaths – up from 300 deaths recorded the day before.

    The country’s daily number of new infections decreased to 13,846 from 20,159.

    Italy has registered 105,328 deaths linked to coronavirus since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the ministry reported – the second-highest deaths figure in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world

  • Olivia Burke

    KATE GARRAWAY MAY HAVE TO GIVE UP GOOD MORNING BRITAIN

    Kate Garraway has admitted she "fears the reality" of giving up her presenting gig in order to provide 24-hour care for her husband.

    Former political advisor Derek Draper is still in hospital after being contracting coronavirus last year and being placed in a coma.

    She realises their marriage will be a "completely different dynamic" when he is able to leave hospial.

    She tells their son Bill in a new ITV documentary Finding Derek: "You know that we are hoping that dad will get better and better, but when he comes home he will probably need to be in a wheelchair, so we are trying to make it so he can do all this.

    "And if I have to give up work to care for him then it is best to do it now when I am earning money.

  • Olivia Burke

    WEEKLY COVID RATES FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES

    Out of the 315 local areas in England, 138 of them have seen a rise in coronavirus case rates.

    There has been a fall in cases in 171 areas, and six remain unchanged.

    Barnsley currently holds the highest rate in England after recording 483 new cases from March 11 – March 18.

    The second highest rate is in Corby, Northamptonshire – seeing an additional 137 new cases.

  • Olivia Burke

    MATT HANCOCK THANKS VACCINE DISTRIBUTORS

    Britain's Health Secretary expressed his thanks to the amazing front-line workers involved in the vaccine rollout, after the total number of doses administered passed 30 million.

    He said on Twitter: "Over 30 MILLION vaccines have now been delivered across the whole UK The vaccine roll-out is showing the best of Britain – THANK YOU to the team involved."

    Government data up to March 21 shows that 30,279,360 vaccines have been given in the UK.

  • Olivia Burke

    NHS DOC SAYS SHE IS "SO THANKFUL" AFTER RECORD BREAKING VACCINE FIGURES

  • Olivia Burke

    HOW MAY VACCINES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED IN THE UK?

    Government data up to March 21 shows that of the 30,279,360 jabs given in the UK so far, 27,997,976 were first doses – a rise of 367,006 on the previous day.

    Some 2,281,384 were second doses, an increase of 52,612.

  • Olivia Burke

    PROTESTS ARE PERMITTED UNDER NEW COVID LAWS

    People will be allowed to participate in protests under the new coronavirus laws that come into action next week.

    From March 29, protesting will be the exception to the rules banning group gatherings.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, states it is permitted if "it is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body or a political body".

    Demonstrations are only allowed if the organiser "takes the required precautions in relation to the gathering", such as making the event "Covid-secure" by encouraging people to wear masks and social distance.

  • Olivia Burke

    WHAT DOES THE ASTRAZENECA STUDY MEAN FOR AMERICA?

    American authorities insisted that the AstraZeneca vaccine had to be trialed in the US before it could be approved for use in the US.

    The study has also proved extremely significant in calming fears that the jab was unsafe, despite leading British experts and the World Health Organisation continuously insisting it was.

    AstraZeneca said it will apply for US approval in the next weeks, which suggests it could be authorised for use by next month.

    A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting on the matter has not yet been scheduled.

  • Olivia Burke

    ASTRAZENECA STUDY TURNS VACCINE TIDES

    The US study into the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine showed "no safety concerns related to the vaccine," the manufacturers said.

    Data was collected from 32,449 to help calm fears the vaccine was responsible for causing blood clots.

    The drug was 80% effective among participants 65 years and older – which proves a pivotal piece of information for the elderly due to the lack of European data on the matter.

    The independent investigators found there were no concerns regarding blood clots, thrombosis, or rare cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.

    It comes after a number of European countries stopped using the vaccine amid concerns it was detrimental to a subject's health.

  • Olivia Burke

    ​ASTRAZENECA VACCINE IS 100% EFFECTIVE AGAINST SEVERE ILLNESS, US STUDY SAYS

    The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation, according to a US study.

    The manufacturers announced an independent safety committee and an independent neurologist conducted an intense review into the drug after fears it caused blood clots.

    The study explored the claims, as well as exploring the odds of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), which is an extremely rare blood clot in the brain.

    The ground-breaking study found that the vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness, and was 100 percent effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation.

  • Olivia Burke

    VLAD'S VACCINE WILL NOT BE A "PUBLIC EVENT"

    Vladimir Putin receiving the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine will not be a "public event".

    It has not yet been revealed which of three Russian doses will be injected into his arm.

    “Vaccination is a voluntary act,” Putin said.

    “It is a personal decision. By the way, I am going to do it (get vaccinated) tomorrow.”

  • Olivia Burke

    BAN ON LEAVING UK WITHOUT REASONABLE EXCUSE UNDER NEW COVID LAWS

    New legislation is being brought in next week banning travellers from leaving the UK without a reasonable excuse.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, laws come into force on March 29 and were published today.

    It suggests anyone found to be in breach of the rules could be hit with a £5,000 fine. The rules will be reviewed by the Government every 35 days.

    According to the legal document: "The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8)."

    The law says no-one may "leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom" without a reasonable excuse.

  • Olivia Burke

    CONTINUED

    France: has announced UK visitors can enter with a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure. However, a self-isolation period of seven days is required, and another test must be taken at the end of this period.

    Cyprus: Brits who have had both vaccine doses will be welcomed from May 1 without needing to provide proof of a negative test or any self-isolating requirements.

    Italy: Non-essential visitors from the UK are banned until April 6 at the earliest, due to fears regarding the UK variant. A molecular or antigen swab test must be taken 72 hours before arrival, and a second test must be taken 48 hours later.

  • Olivia Burke

    HOW DO HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS PLAN TO OPEN UP TO TOURISTS?

    Greece: is aiming to reopen its borders to holidaymakers who are vaccinated and provide a recent negative test or have coronavirus antibodies, from May 14

    Spain: wants to open up "as soon as possible" but has not confirmed any concrete plans. It is considering the use of vaccine passports from May.

    Portugal: intends to allow UK visitors from May 17, closely coinciding with the date Brits can travel for leisure. It is believed tourists will be able tto enter if they show evidence that they have been vaccinated, have coronavirus antibodies or have received a recent negative test.

  • Olivia Burke

    PUPILS NEED TO "REDISCOVER PLAY" NEW CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER SAYS

    Pupils returning to classrooms should be given the opportunity to "rediscover play" and reconnect with their schoolmates to enable them to catch up, England's new children's commissioner said.

    Dame Rachel de Souza told heads it was vital that children are able to "catch up on the essential experiences of childhood" after the lost time during lockdown.

    Addressing the conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Dame Rachel said: children have "borne the brunt" of the pandemic, adding it can sometimes feel "like the future of a whole generation is on the line".

    In her first speech as the children's commissioner for England, she said: "In the short term, as life returns to normal, it's so important they are able to catch up on the essential experiences of childhood and catching up will of course include learning and I do think that's achievable."

    However, she added: "Giving children opportunities to rediscover play, sports, clubs, and activities – and just spending time with their friends – must be one of the foundations of helping them to get back on track."

  • Olivia Burke

    48 DEATHS IN HOSPITALS IN ENGLAND NHS SAY

    Another 48 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 85,813, NHS England said on Monday.

    Patients were aged between 48 and 102 and all had known underlying health conditions.

    The deaths were between December 17 and March 21, with the majority being on or after March 7.

    There were four other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

  • Olivia Burke

    A LOOK AT THE UK VACCINE FIGURES

    A total of 25,476,409 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and March 21, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 325,777 on the previous day.

    NHS England said 23,854,862 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 295,359 on the previous day, while 1,621,547 were a second dose, an increase of 30,418.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    IRISH PM WARNS OF 'TROUBLE' IN VACCINE SUPLY CHAIN IF EU BLOCKS EXPORTS

     Any European Union restrictions on vaccine exports would be a "retrograde step" that could undermine the supply of raw materials for vaccine production, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said today.

    Martin told Ireland's RTE radio that representatives of vaccine-maker Moderna Inc had expressed concern to him that EU export restrictions on vaccines might affect its supply of raw materials for vaccine production.

    "I am very much against it. I think it would be a very retrograde step," Martin said when asked if he supported proposed export limits on COVID-19 vaccines produced in the European Union. "If every country and every continent started doing that, we would be in right trouble globally and we would set it (global vaccine production) back," Martin said.

    Martin said he has spoken to senior executives with AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc and that all had expressed concern about the impact of an EU move on vaccine ingredient supply chains.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    NEW COVID TESTS CAN IDENTIFY IF YOU'VE CAUGHT MUTANT VARIANTS, NHS SAYS

    New Covid-19 tests will be able to detect if you've caught a mutant variant, the NHS has stated.

    As part of the Test & Trace system already in place across the country, the new tests are set to help suppress the spread of variants of concern.

    The technology is currently being trialled in NHS Test and Trace labs and is called 'genotype assay testing’.

    Health officials have said that it will cut the time it now takes to identify whether or not a positive Covid-19 test contains a variant of concern.

    This, the Department of Health said, could be used alongside standard Covid-19 testing, in a bid to identify cases quicker.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SPIN WAR

    Wuhan lab scientists attempted to get the coronavirus renamed so the deadly bug could be distanced from China, bombshell emails reveal.

    Correspondence obtained through freedom of information requests show further evidence of how the Communist Party attempted to control the narrative during the early days of the pandemic.

    Emails uncovered by US Right to Know (USRTK) – a public health research non-profit organisation – expose how Wuhan lab chief Dr Shi Zhengli helped spearhead an effort to alter the virus's scientific name "SARS-CoV-2".

    The messages obtained by USRTK show that the scientists argued the name of the virus was a "matter of importance to the Chinese people" as it became a political football.

    For more on the story click here.

  • Olivia Burke

    BRITS MUST BRACE FOR THIRD WAVE FROM EUROPE

    Boris Johnson has warned Brits must prepare for a third wave of covid infections from Europe as cases continue to rise across the continent.

    The drastic increase in cases seen in countries such as France and Italy are set to "wash up on our shores as well", the PM said, which is why the efficiency of the vaccine drive is so pivotal.

    He also touched on the EU vaccine dispute, saying, "I've talked to our (European) friends repeatedly over the period – we're all facing the same pandemic, we all have the same problems.

    "If there is one thing that is worth stressing it's that on the continent right now you can see sadly there is a third wave under way," he continued.

    "People in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well. I expect that we will feel those effects in due course."

  • Olivia Burke

    LABOUR KEPT IN THE DARK OVER CORONAVIRUS ACT

    Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has revealed that the Government have not yet informed the Labour party on their plans to renew the Coronavirus Act's emergency measures for six months.

    But Dodds reassured the public during a campaign walkabout in Birmingham that: "We will obviously look at the details very, very carefully.

    "Labour has been clear that we want to be a constructive opposition at this time of national crisis and where it's necessary to have had restrictions during this period, Labour has supported those restrictions because we all want to ultimately defeat this disease.

    "We will look at those details very, very carefully. We need to ensure that they, above all, will be serving the national interest," she explained.

    "They need to be accompanied – any continued restrictions – with support (for businesses). They need to go hand in hand."

  • Olivia Burke

    PUTIN WILL GET JAB TOMORROW

    Vladimir Putin has said he will receive a coronavirus vaccine tomorrow.

    The Russian President has been under intense scrutiny for not yet receiving a dose, and has been accused of fuelling fears about receiving it.

    Only 4.3% of the country's massive 146-million have received at least one jab.

    However, Russian industry minister Denis Manturov has announced Russia plan to produce over 80 million doses of home-grown vaccines in the first half of this year.

  • Olivia Burke

    GOV "CONFIDENT" IN VACCINE SUPPLY DESPITE EU THREATS

    Downing Street remains "confident" in the UK's vaccine supply, despite threats from the EU to stop exports of doses.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said, "We have said throughout the vaccination program that supplies will fluctuate, but we remain confident in our supplies.

    "As we publicly said, we are on track to offer first doses to all over-50s by April 15, and all other adults by the end of July. we remain committed to ensuring people get their second doses within 12 weeks.

    "I would point to the fact that not only do we produce AstraZeneca vaccines here in the UK, but they are produced in other countries as well, and we remain confident in our supplies."

  • Olivia Burke

    GOV SAYS VACCINE DRIVE IS AN "INTERNATIONAL EFFORT"

    The Government has stressed vaccine rollouts are an "international effort" after the EU proposed to block exports of doses to the UK.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman explained it was a case of the whole world working together rather than competing.

    He told reporters, "Ursula von der Leyen confirmed earlier this year the focus of their mechanism was on transparency and wasn't intended to restrict exports by companies where they are fulfilling contractual responsibilities.

    "We expect the EU to continue to stand by that commitment and it's important that the whole world works together.

    "I would also point to the fact that vaccines are manufactured in many different countries, you are aware the AstraZeneca manufacturers have plants in a number of countries, and, as I say, it's an international effort."

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