Dr Hilary Jones has warned against ‘reading too much into’ AstraZeneca’s news that their vaccine candidate is up to 90% effective in preventing coronavirus.
Oxford researchers, who carried out a trial of 20,000 people in partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, say overall the vaccine is 70% effective.
But they added this rose to 90% in a group of volunteers who were given an initial half dose, followed by a full dose.
Chatting to Lorraine Kelly on her show, the GP, who also warned about side-effects of the vaccine, explained it’s ‘encouraging’ news – but was quick to point out that the trial numbers have been small.
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‘We’re talking about quite small numbers in the trial so we can’t read too much into this but the fact that it has the same sort of efficacy on average as the flu jab, or better, is encouraging,’ he explained.
‘Most importantly it shows that hospitalisations were vastly reduced, significantly reduced, if there were any at all, which shows that it prevents severe infection in the people that do get it,’ he added.
Dr Hilary chatted to Lorraine on her show (Picture: ITV)
Dr Hilary, 67, went on to say that the nation needs to be careful around celebrating Christmas so as not to ‘undo’ any good work done so far.
‘If we have learnt anything in the last year, it’s when people gather together, the virus is transmitted,’ he explained.
AstraZeneca revealed their vaccine candidate is up to 90% effective (Picture: Getty Images)
He added: ‘If we undo all the good work we’ve achieved…we’ll have another peak in the spring.’
‘Why are we sacrificing all the good work that’s been done so that large numbers of households can come together for a few days?’ Dr Hilary asked, before adding: ‘Christmas can still be celebrated in all sorts of ways but I think the idea that’s been mooted of four households coming together for the five day opportunity is crazy.’
It’s been reported that Boris Johnson will outline plans to relax rules over the festive period on Monday, in a move which will come as a relief to families fearing for the celebration – but is controversial among health experts who warn it could lead to more coronavirus infections.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have a joint approach to allow the partial lifting of rule ‘for a small number of days’, according to the Cabinet Office – which warned this would not be a ‘normal’ Christmas.
Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV.
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