Almost 100% of people tested positive for antibodies 14 or more days after their second vaccine dose, highlighting the importance of getting both doses protection as restrictions are eased.
Over 207,337 participants tested themselves at home using a finger prick test between 12 and 25 May 2021, tracking COVID-19 antibodies across England following either natural infection or vaccination.
Following one dose of either vaccine, the proportion of people testing positive for antibodies peaked at 4 to 5 weeks after first dose and then started to decline before rising substantially in those who had a second dose. The findings emphasise the need for everyone to get both doses of the vaccine to receive the best chance of protection against this disease as restrictions are lifted.
Read more: Ending pandemic the priority, says new Health Secretary
‘Every vaccine is another brick in our wall of protection and I’m incredibly pleased that the latest data from REACT shows almost 100% of people tested positive for antibodies after their second dose of the vaccine,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘This is a testament to the very high level of protection the vaccine provides – with 46,000 hospitalisations prevented and 30,000 lives saved. I urge everyone to come forward for the vaccine, regardless of your race, religion or background. It could save your life and protect your loved ones, and getting the second jab will help us all return to doing the things we love.’
Read more: Nurses’ response to COVID-19 pandemic hailed
Over 90% of people aged over 65 tested positive for antibodies, rising to 95% in those aged over 75 with 36% of 18 to 24 year olds testing positive. At the time of the report, a quarter of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they had received one or 2 jabs compared to 99% of those aged over 75.
The government’s vaccination programme has ramped up significantly since this report took place. Over half of young people aged 18 to 24 in England have now received a first dose, just a few weeks after the programme was opened to this age group, and second doses have been accelerated for all over 18s by reducing the dosing interval from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. The government is on track to offer every adult a first dose of the vaccine by 19 July and has already given 2 doses to two-thirds of all adults.
‘It is incredibly reassuring to see nearly every single person who took part in the REACT study developed detectable antibodies following 2 doses of the vaccine. It goes to show once again how 2 doses are vital for the best possible protection,’ said Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.
‘Our vaccination programme is working and is severely weakening the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths. We are continuing to make strong progress in boosting uptake for people living in deprived areas, as well as black and minority ethnic communities by working closely with faith and local leaders.’