Yet more evidence of the shambles within the EU today, with the announcement they have started legal procedures against Astra Zenica. They have also broken off negotiations with Valnerva which is making its vaccine in Scotland. Valnerva say they will now negotiate with individual countries in the EU. This vaccine is quite unique in the way it is made, being based on an inactive version of a coronavirus. The UK has a contract for 190 million doses to be made in its factory in Livingstone in West Lothian. Regulatory approval for the vaccine is anticipated by early autumn.
Across the EU only 18.5% of adults have had a first dose compared with over 50% in the UK. The EU have started using the J and J vaccine which only requires one jab, but they are probably going to use age restrictions in view of the incredibly small risk of cerebral blood clots associated with low platelets. Spain started to immunise the 70-79 age groups 2 days before the link with clots was established. The USA hope to restart J and J vaccine use this weekend after they were required to state the very small risks of cerebral venous clots in their information leaflet.
Infection with Covid 19 is no longer the leading cause of death in the UK. It has been relegated to third place. The leading cause is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease followed by cardiovascular disease. These two conditions have been the leading causes for a number of years before Covid.
There is a new report today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which is yet to be verified and peer reviewed, it suggests adults who have had 2 vaccines doses are highly unlikely to develop severe disease. As a consequence, it may no longer be necessary to wear masks or to social distance as the risk of transmission is now very low.
A new US study suggests it may be safe for Grandparents to hug Grandchildren. I think both these suggestions my still be premature. There is a significant risk of the appearance of new variants which could be much more resistant and more easily caught.
Tonight’s statistics continue to bring good news. 1.37 million tests were done in the last 24 hours, almost 7 million in the last week. 2,729 of those tests were positive. The number positive fell by a further 7.4% and the rate is now 24.3 per 100k. There were only 18 deaths recorded. This is a 26% drop in the last 24 hours. The death rate is only 0.2 per 100k of the population. The number of patients in hospital with covid is below 2000 today. Only 140 were admitted on 18th April. With 1,915 already in a hospital bed and only 276 needing a ventilator.
Vaccination numbers are continuing to rise. We need to do everything possible to boost these numbers as high as possible. 33.25 Million first doses are given and 11.19 million second doses. Congratulations to three areas who have achieved 100% of their population over 50 years old. These are Rushmoor in Hampshire, Stratford On Avon and South Oxfordshire. The poorest performances are in the London boroughs.
We have to look much further than the UK, we are not safe till the rest of the world is. It is grim in India, they have broken all records again. There have been 314,000 cases confirmed in just 24 hours and in the twenty-four hours ending this morning, there were 2,104 deaths reported.
You must continue to follow our covid guidelines to the letter, please do not travel unless necessary and not just because you can. Avoid large crowds, ensure you have both doses of your vaccination and remember still to use a face mask and keep your distance when out of your home.
Please stay safe. We have come this far, and we can do it if we support and care for one another.