Coronavirus latest news: Vaccine immunity 'won't just disappear' with variants

Grace Millimaci
·6-min read
Expert expects a "gradual erosion" of vaccine protection  - OLI SCARFF/AFP
Expert expects a "gradual erosion" of vaccine protection - OLI SCARFF/AFP
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Imported coronavirus variants are unlikely to set lockdown easing back to "square one" because immunity from vaccines "won't just disappear", according to a key figure on the UK's immunisation committee.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said he expected a "gradual erosion" of vaccine protection as the virus evolved, but not enough to "scupper" the Prime Minister's road map, as one leading scientist had predicted.

On Friday, Imperial College's Danny Altmann said "we should be terribly concerned" after 77 cases of a potentially vaccine-busting Covid-19 mutation first discovered in India were identified in Britain.

"They (variants of concern) are things that can most scupper our escape plan at the moment and give us a third wave. They are a worry," Professor Altmann said.

Prof Finn said he thought the immunology expert had been "a bit pessimistic" with his assessment.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

05:42 AM

Canada records a second blood clot case

Canada has recorded a second case of rare but serious blood clotting linked to AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but the country's health authorities still recommend the shot.

The patient, who lives in the western province of Alberta and received a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine supplied by the Serum Institute of India, "has received treatment and is recovering", health authorities wrote on Twitter.

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Canada reported its first case of blood clotting associated with low platelets on Tuesday in a Quebec woman who received the same shot.

Blood clot formations linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine "remain very rare" and Canada still believes that the vaccine's benefits "outweigh the potential risks," Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

05:16 AM

'Australia is in no hurry to open those borders'

Australia is no hurry to reopen its international borders and risk the country's nearly coronavirus-free lifestyle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

Australia closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents in March 2020 and has been permitting only limited international arrivals in recent months, mainly its citizens returning from abroad.

The border closure, together with snap lockdowns, swift contact tracking and high community compliance with health measures, have made Australia one of the world's most successful countries in curbing the pandemic, limiting coronavirus cases to under 29,500 infections and 910 deaths.

"Australia is in no hurry to open those borders, I assure you," Mr Morrison said.

"I will not be putting at risk the way we are living in this country which is so different to the rest of the world today."

05:14 AM

Only 8 countries would make green list for safe travel

The United States, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland will be among only eight countries on the Government’s “green” list for safe travel from May 17, according to modelling for the industry.

The analysis, based on the Government’s four “risk” criteria for travel, suggests the only other countries will be Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand - both of which are currently closed to foreign arrivals.

The research, by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, confirms government indications that only a handful of “green” countries are likely to be approved for quarantine-free holidays when ministers plan to lift the ban on non-essential foreign travel on May 17.

READ MORE: Only eight countries would make green list for safe travel from May 17, industry modelling suggests

04:42 AM

Expert mystified that India is not on travel 'red list'

A member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has found it "mystifying" and "slightly confounding" that those flying in to the UK from India are not required to stay in a hotel - considering the virus is soaring in the south Asian country.

India is not on the Government's "red list" for travel, which sees people who have been in those countries in the previous 10 days refused entry to the UK.

British or Irish nationals, or people with UK residency rights, are able to return from red list countries, but must isolate in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

Professor Adam Finn said that with the pandemic "raging" in places such as India - which recorded more than 217,000 cases in 24 hours on Friday - and Brazil, international travel would continue to pose a "problem".

Prof Finn said: "We're going to need to continue to be really quite careful, to avoid moving the virus around, so I think travel won't go back to normal yet."

A Downing Street spokesman told reporters that the Government's red list of travel ban countries was "under constant review", when asked why India did not feature on it.

04:35 AM

Vaccine immunity 'won't just disappear' with variants

Imported coronavirus variants are unlikely to set lockdown easing back to "square one" because immunity from vaccines "won't just disappear", according to a key figure on the UK's immunisation committee.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said he expected a "gradual erosion" of vaccine protection as the virus evolved, but not enough to "scupper" the Prime Minister's road map, as one leading scientist had predicted.

On Friday, Imperial College's Danny Altmann said "we should be terribly concerned" after 77 cases of a potentially vaccine-busting Covid-19 mutation first discovered in India were identified in Britain.

But Prof Finn said he thought the immunology expert had been "a bit pessimistic" with his assessment.

"We've all expected evolution of this virus to occur from the start," he told Times Radio.

"I also think that we know from other viruses and previous experience that the immunity that vaccines give won't just disappear.

"It will be a gradual erosion. It won't be back to square one. I would be really surprised if that happened."

12:21 AM

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