UK Covid news LIVE: ‘Pfizer booster shot significantly lowers risk,’ Israeli study shows

·14-min read

A third dose of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine significantly improves protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older, findings published by the Health Ministry in Israel showed on Sunday.

The data were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday and uploaded to its website on Sunday, though the full details of the study were not released.

The findings were on par with separate statistics reported last week by Israel's Maccabi healthcare provider, one of several organisations administering booster shots to try to curb the Delta coronavirus variant.

Israel started administering third jabs to over 60-year-olds on July 30. The UK is yet to announce whether it will have a programme of booster shots.

It comes as antibody tests will be available to the public in the UK for the first time, from Tuesday. Those getting a PCR test will be able to have the option of checking for antibodies.

Watch: FDA Grants Full Approval, to Pfizer-BioNTech’s, COVID-19 Vaccine

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Almost 5,000 Covid cases linked to 50,000-people Boardmasters festival

Changing of the Guard ceremony returns to Buckingham Palace

UK orders 35m more Covid vaccine doses to ‘future proof’ jab rollout

 Key points
Covid could come roaring back if UK takes eye off ball, expert warns
Turkey ‘to come off the red list’ next week after drop in cases
Coronavirus daily cases hit 32,253 and 49 deaths recorded on Sunday
Young people warn of being bed-bound with long Covid in NHS vaccine push

 Covid returns to top ten cause of death list
22:28 , Rachael Burford Covid-19 returned to the list of top ten causes of death in England last month. In July, the virus was the ninth biggest causes of death in England, which was up from 26th place in June. Meanwhile in Wales last month, coronavirus was the 22nd leading cause of death after being unranked in June due to low death numbers. Office for National Statistics figures show the number of deaths in England was 7.6 per cent higher than average. In Wales, it was 10.4 per cent higher.

 Government buys 35million extra Pfizer jabs
22:26 , Rachael BurfordThe government is buying 35million extra doses of the Pfizer jab in a bid to "future-proof" the vaccine rollout. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the extra doses were part of “robust preparations” to ensure the country’s safety against Covid-19 “for years to come”. Plans are in place to enable a booster programme to begin in early September alongside the flu jab. Mr Javid said he is “confident” a booster campaign can start next month.

The Band of The Coldstream Guards marching during the Changing the Guard ceremony (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
The Band of The Coldstream Guards marching during the Changing the Guard ceremony (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

 Changing of the Guard returns
21:54 , Rachael BurfordThe Changing the Guard has returned to delight tourists at Buckingham Palace. On Monday, the colourful military spectacle was performed for the first time since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. The ceremony was halted about 18 months ago to avoid attracting huge crowds of tourists during lockdown. The 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards were dressed in their scarlet tunics and famous bearskin hats as they marched from nearby Wellington Barracks to the palace to take over the duty from the old guard, Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards.Read more here.


 Almost 5,000 Covid cases linked to Cornish surf festival
21:49 , Rachael BurfordPublic health officials are investigating almost 5,000 Covid-19 cases linked to a surf festival in Cornwall. Organisers of Boardmasters said they are working with public health officials after a number of revellers tested positive for the virus when they returned home.Some 4,700 coronavirus cases are now suspected. Read more here.

 Almost 32,000 new Covid infections recorded
16:11 , Rachael BurfordThe UK recorded 31,914 new Covid-19 infections on Monday. A further 40 people had the virus listed on their death certificate, according to the latest government data. Read more here.

Crowds of protesters outside ITN’s headquarters in Camden (Nico Hogg/PA) (Nico Hogg)
Crowds of protesters outside ITN’s headquarters in Camden (Nico Hogg/PA) (Nico Hogg)

 Anti-vaxx protesters ‘force their way into ITN’s London headquarters’
15:18 , Tom AmbrosePolice have been called to ITN’s London headquarters after a group of protesters “unlawfully gained access” to the building.The protesters are understood to have forced their way into the building on Gray’s Inn Road in Camden following an anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protest in central London.Images posted on social media by ITN staff showed dozens of people in the ITN reception, with police standing between them and security barriers into the main building.Crowds of police were also gathered on the pavement outside to block any more anymore demonstrators forcing their way in.

 Schools carrying out Covid-19 tests ‘inevitably’ means disruption to start of term
14:43 , Leah SinclairSecondary schools and colleges carrying out coronavirus testing “inevitably” means students will face some disruption during the first week of term, a leader of a headteachers’ union has said.Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “The Government has asked secondary schools and colleges to provide on-site asymptomatic coronavirus testing at the start of the autumn term.“The Government advice to secondary schools and colleges is that they may commence testing from three working days before the start of term and can stagger the return of pupils across the first week to manage this. That will inevitably mean some disruption during the first week of the new term.”

 Extra 35 million Pfizer doses due to come to UK in second half of 2022
14:33 , Leah SinclairAnother 35 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are due to be delivered to the UK in the second half of next year as a way to “future-proof” the jabs programme, the Health Secretary said.Sajid Javid said the extra doses are part of “robust preparations” to ensure the country’s safety “for years to come” against Covid-19.The Department of Health (DH) said it is planning for any future booster programmes to protect against the virus and its variants.No official decision has been given yet on a potential rollout of third doses, but plans are in place to enable a booster programme to begin in early September, alongside the flu jab, if advised.Last week Mr Javid said he is “confident” a booster campaign can start next month.

Watch: Do coronavirus vaccines affect fertility?

 Scotland; Zero Covid-19 deaths and 3,189 cases
14:20 , Leah Sinclair No coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours but 3,189 new cases have been confirmed, the latest Scottish Government figures show.The death toll under the daily measure - of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days - remains at 8,070.The daily test positivity rate is 12.4 per cent, up from 10.8 per cent the previous day.A total of 356 people were in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up by 18 on the previous day, with 41 patients in intensive care, up seven.So far, 4,082,698 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,572,042 have had their second.

 Philippines reports record virus cases as Delta variant spreads
13:10 , Tom AmbroseThe Philippines health ministry reported a record 18,332 COVID-19 infections on Monday and for the first time acknowledged community transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus in its capital region.The region, an urban sprawl containing the capital, Manila, and 16 cities home to more than 13 million people, had been subject to strict lockdown measures which were relaxed for 10 days from Aug. 21 to allow more businesses to operate."Widespread lockdown or restrictions are no longer effective in the country," health ministry spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire told a regular news conference on Monday. "It would be more effective if restrictions were loosened a bit and if lockdowns were more targeted".Large numbers of Delta variant cases for which the source could not be traced had been detected in the capital region and nearby provinces, the health ministry said in a separate statement.

Omani city of Nizwa (Alamy)
Omani city of Nizwa (Alamy)

 Oman to allow entry to COVID-19 vaccine certificate holders
12:29 , Tom AmbroseOman will allow anyone holding a Covid vaccine certificate to travel to the country from Sept. 1, the civil aviation authority said on Twitter on Monday.The authority said it had dropped a list of countries from which arrivals were banned due to the pandemic, according to the Reuters news agency.

 ‘Hospital patients more likely to be infected with Covid-19 by other patients’
12:08 , Tom AmbroseHospital patients were more likely to be infected with Covid-19 by other patients than healthcare workers, research has suggested.A study by the University of Cambridge found that the vast majority of infections were between patients, and scientists said their work supports that population being tested regularly and wearing masks.They focused on data between March and June last year, during the UK’s first wave, from five wards at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust.

 Covid-19 rates for Wales and Northern Ireland highest since January
11:40 , Tom AmbroseWales and Northern Ireland are recording their highest rates of new cases of Covid-19 since January, as the third wave of coronavirus continues to pick up pace across the country, new figures show.Fermanagh & Omagh in the south-west of Northern Ireland also has the highest rate of any local authority in the UK, with a total of 1,003.9 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days to August 18.This is the first time that any local authority in Northern Ireland has recorded rates over 1,000 since comparable records began in summer 2020, when mass testing was first introduced.The figures show how the third wave of coronavirus, which began in the UK at the end of May of this year, is once again on the rise after a period last month when it appeared cases may have peaked.

 Japan asks Tokyo hospitals to accept more COVID-19 patients
11:00 , Tom AmbroseThe Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan government appealed on Monday to hospitals in the capital to accept more Covid patients as increasing infections has made it increasingly difficult to get access to care.Fewer than one in 10 coronavirus patients is hospitalised in Tokyo, fuelling public frustration with the government’s Covid response and undermining voter support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.“The Delta variant’s strong infectiousness just isn’t comparable to previous ones,” said Health Minister Norihisa Tamura, as he stood with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.“We would like to have further support from the medical community to secure hospital beds for coronavirus patients.”This was the first time the national government had issued such a request based on the infectious diseases control law, Tamura said.

 4% of children Covid-19 positive during school year
10:12 , Tom AmbroseNew figures show that 4% of children aged under 18 contracted Covid-19 in schools in Ireland last year.A HSE study, published on Monday, shows that since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and July 10 2021, a total of 46,470 cases of Covid-19 were reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).The study also found that the proportion of close contacts of a confirmed case that later tested positive for Covid-19 was significantly lower in schools, compared to the general population.

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?

 Russia's daily COVID-19 cases below 20,000 for first time since June 23
09:48 , Tom AmbroseRussia reported 19,454 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the first time the daily tally has dipped below 20,000 since June 23 as authorities blamed a case surge on the infectious Delta variant.The government coronavirus task force also reported 776 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours nationwide.

 09:19 , Tom AmbroseThe situation around younger children getting vaccines is “under constant re-evaluation”, Professor Adam Finn said, as he insisted a “cautious approach” is being taken.The professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol told Sky News: “We’re very confident that for first doses for healthy 16 and 17-year-olds, that benefit/risk ratio is overwhelmingly in favour of receiving that first dose, but people can be reassured that we’re taking this cautiously, we’re not rushing forward, and we very much don’t want to be in a position of later discovering we made the wrong decision.“So, the benefits are clear for the first dose for this age group.“We will be looking very carefully before taking any further steps into younger children, or second doses.”He said the JCVI “always review evidence going forward”, adding: “And so this whole situation is under constant re-evaluation, if you like.”Prof Finn said the UK has the benefit of being able to look at how rollouts to younger children in other countries are working.He added: “Of course we’ve got new vaccines coming through as well, so additional choices becoming available over the coming months, and we can make a good, safe, careful and evidence-based decision as we go forward.”

 Fewer young people likely to get vaccine compared to older age groups - expert
08:54 , Tom AmbroseProfessor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Sky News: “I don’t think we’re going to see as many young people receiving the vaccine as the elderly.“Old folks like me were living in fear of Covid with very large numbers of serious cases, admissions and deaths, and clearly as you come down through the age groups you see those rates coming down.“But nevertheless, I think we can be optimistic that the majority of young people will want to receive the vaccine.“And of course we don’t have compulsory vaccines in this country, people don’t have to have them if they don’t want them, and we will see some people not coming forward.“But it will contribute to the effort to bringing this pandemic to an end, if a majority of people do receive this vaccine. And I think that’s what we’re going to see.”

 Young people tell of being bed-bound with Covid in vaccination push
08:06 , Tom AmbroseYoung patients suffering with the debilitating effects of long Covid have urged people to get their vaccine.A new NHS video features three previously healthy people in their early 20s and 30s, including a man who thought he would die with the virus in hospital.It comes as 16 and 17-year-olds in England have been invited to book their first doses from Monday.The invitation extends to “at-risk” people aged 12 to 15 ahead of their return to school in September.People aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, the NHS has said.

 Make Covid support funds contingent on better pay and conditions – think tank
07:38 , Tom AmbroseCovid-19 support funds for businesses should be contingent on them offering better employee benefits in order to combat an endemic of low pay and precarious work, a think tank has said.Research from IPPR Scotland found many jobs are not providing workers “enough to make a decent life for themselves and their families”.It said women and minorities are particularly badly served by the labour market.The group is calling on the Scottish Government to implement wide reforms to ensure everyone has a “living income” – enough money to lead a good life.Recovery from the coronavirus pandemic should be linked to these efforts, according to the researchers.

Blood samples (PA Archive)
Blood samples (PA Archive)

 UK-wide antibody testing programme to be launched for Covid positive people
07:29 , Tom AmbroseA UK-wide antibody testing programme is to be launched for people who have contracted coronavirus, the Government has announced.The programme, which will offer tests to thousands of adults per day, aims to improve understanding and gain “vital” data about antibody protection following Covid infection and vaccination.From Tuesday, anyone over 18 from any of the four UK nations can opt in to the programme when receiving a PCR test.Of those who test positive for coronavirus, up to 8,000 will be sent two finger prick antibody tests to complete at home and send back for analysis.The first must be taken as soon as possible after the positive result, and the second must be taken 28 days later.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

 Israel finds COVID-19 vaccine booster significantly lowers infection risk
07:27 , Tom AmbroseA third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by the Health Ministry showed on Sunday.The data were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday and uploaded to its website on Sunday, though the full details of the study were not released.The findings were on par with separate statistics reported last week by Israel's Maccabi healthcare provider, one of several organisations administering booster shots to try to curb the Delta coronavirus variant.

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