Evidence from the UK has sparked concern that Australia backed the wrong Covid vaccine, with one vaccine tipped to last forever.
Evidence from the United Kingdom shows Australia may have backed the wrong Covid vaccine, with the maligned AstraZeneca jab offering potential protection from the virus for life.
Early research has shown that Britain’s wide use of the Oxford University-made jab in vulnerable people may be behind the country’s lower death toll compared to Europe in recent months.
AZ is the predominant vaccine in the UK for those aged over 40.
The vaccine was impugned by high-profile Australians, including former Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young, who claimed it was more dangerous for teenagers than the virus.
Australia has administered 13.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine but has relied heavily on Pfizer with 25.3 million doses injected during the rollout.
In April, the AstraZeneca jab was recommended for those over 50 because of the low risk of blood clots in younger people. However, this was increased to 60 in July – crushing the public confidence in the medicine and slowing the vaccine rollout.
The approach in the motherland greatly differed with the UK recommending, in May, alternative jabs to under 40s if they were easily available while the over 40s kept taking AstraZeneca in large numbers.
Former chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force Clive Dix said this week that the immunity response prompted by the jab could “last for life”.
“If you look across Europe, with the rise in cases, there‘s also a corresponding lagged rise in deaths, but not in the UK, and we have to understand that,’ he told the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“I personally believe that‘s because most of our vulnerable people were given the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We‘ve seen early data that the Oxford jab produces a very durable cellular response and if you’ve got a durable cellular immunity response then they can last for a long time.
“It can last for life in some cases.”
Studies show AstraZeneca’s jab, which uses a more traditional vaccine technology, produces a greater T-cell response compared to mRNA jabs produced by Pfizer and Moderna, which have been favoured in Europe.
T-cells, which are more difficult to measure than antibodies, are thought to provide longer-lasting protection.
In October, the Australian government decided to stop manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine on our shores.