Covid-19: Who is eligible for the vaccine tackling new variant Pirola?

Covid-19 cases are on the rise; find out if you can get protected against the Pirola strain with the new vaccine programme.

Find out if you are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine that works against new variant
© Hakan Nural / UNSPLASH
Find out if you are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine that works against new variant

The UK Health Security Agency hasissued an update on Pirola as Covid cases in the UK rise. Pirola first appeared in the UK on August 18 in someone who hadn’t recently travelled, indicating that there was already a degree of community transmission. It has now been detected in 7 other countries.

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The UKHSA has since confirmed 34 Pirola cases in England. In this recent update, the health agency explains that the relatively small number of Pirola cases worldwide has hampered productive research into the strain:

It is important to note that to date only a small number of cases have been identified across the world, and we will need more data to draw any conclusions about the effect of these mutations on transmissibility and severity of the variant.

In order to overcome this, scientists are actually ‘growing’ Pirola in order to do tests on it in a controlled environment.

Read more:Health Officer says to get your ‘masks ready' amid rising Covid cases in this country

The Covid-19 vaccine: Who is eligible?

The NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russel said:

The NHS flu and Covid vaccination programmes have been very effective in protecting those at greatest risk and we will work at speed to ensure they are protected once again this year…With concerns arising over new Covid variants, it’s vital we adapt the programme and bring it forward for those most at risk.

Indeed, the Covid-19 and flu jab programme has already started, though it was initially planned for October.

From 11 September, those aged 65 and over, people in at-risk groups, and the immunosuppressed have been able to book in for their jabs.

Moderna, one of the pharmaceutical companies making the Covid vaccines, said its jab provided a strong immune response against the new Pirola variant. The company’s president Stephen Hoge said:

Moderna will continue to rapidly assess global public health threats and is committed to leveraging our mRNA platform against Covid-19.

It seems that just because we have the vaccine, we shouldn’t stop worrying about the coronavirus. As Professor Lawrence Young of the University of Warwick said to the Independent, there is ‘a general misplaced view that there is no longer a need to be worried about Covid’.

Read more:

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