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Covid UK: ‘One shot’ Johnson and Johnson vaccine could be targeted at people who refused jabs

Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine could be targeted at Britons living in Indian variant hotspots who have so far refused a jab, according to reports.

Health officials believe the one dose schedule could be more appealing to vaccine-hesitant Britons, who they fear are harder to convince to turn up for two appointments.

The shot could be deployed in areas where the new Indian strain is surging to prevent infections translating into hospital admissions and deaths, health sources told The Telegraph.

The J&J jab is currently under review by Britain’s medical regulators and is tipped to be given the green light in the coming weeks.

One of the benefits of the vaccine is that it only takes three weeks following injection to achieve full protection.  

The vaccines currently being rolled out in Britain require two doses, given three months apart. 

Britain has ordered 30million doses of J&J’s vaccine, but these are not expected to start arriving until mid-summer. 

More than 36.5million Britons – or two in three adults – have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine could be used to target Covid hotspots (stock)

Scientists will test seven jabs in the trials which have already been ordered by the UK Government. Only GSK's Covid vaccine - which is progressing to stage three trials - has been excluded

Britain has ordered 30million doses of the Johnson and Johnson, or Janssen, vaccine 

More than 36.5million Britons - or two in three adults - have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine

More than 36.5million Britons – or two in three adults – have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine

The source revealed to The Telegraph that ministers were considering focusing the ‘one chance’ jab in low uptake areas.

They said: ‘It will be a really useful addition, it could help us to catch up in areas where we have seen vaccine hesitancy, especially in areas which have seen surges.’

Deliveries of the jab could also be used in the booster programme, which is set to begin this Autumn.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam suggested earlier this month the one dose vaccine could be instrumental to the roll-out.

‘It will be authorised as a single dose schedule and that could potentially make it very important, rather than no vaccine, in populations that are hard to reach,’ he said.

‘Basically where you have one chance of vaccinating them and little chance of calling them back for a second.’ 

There are fears that vaccine hesitancy is behind the rapid spread of the Indian Covid variant. 

In Bolton – where cases have more than doubled in a week – the majority of the 18 people hospitalised with the strain haven’t had the jab but are eligible, Matt Hancock has claimed.

NHS figures show that vaccine uptake among all over-40s, which is at 83 per cent average across England, is below average in all but one (Sefton) of the Indian variant hotspot areas. Although experts do not think the at-risk older age groups are the ones driving outbreaks at the moment, it could be cause for concern if the virus spreads to them

NHS figures show that vaccine uptake among all over-40s, which is at 83 per cent average across England, is below average in all but one (Sefton) of the Indian variant hotspot areas. Although experts do not think the at-risk older age groups are the ones driving outbreaks at the moment, it could be cause for concern if the virus spreads to them 

Data from the Sanger Institute shows areas of the North West, Midlands and London are worst affected by the variant ¿ the light yellow areas have not had any cases

NHS data shows vaccine uptake is lower than usual in the same areas where the Indian variant is spreading the most ¿ the North West, the Midlands and London

Heat maps of where the Indian variant has become most common (left) and where vaccine uptake is lowest (right) show that the same areas are doing badly on both counts – the North West, the Midlands and London. These are the most urban and most populated parts of the country, which are known to be worse affected by outbreaks and have been throughout the pandemic

Indian variant is already behind one in FIVE Covid infections 

The Indian Covid variant now accounts for at least one in five infections in England and NHS figures show that five out of the six hotspots have vaccine uptake lower than the national average.

Local outbreaks of the alarming new strain sprung up in Bolton, Blackburn, Sefton in Merseyside, Bedford, Nottingham and Leicester this month as Public Health England confirmed it has found 1,313 cases so far. 

At the most recent count the Sanger Institute in London, which is analysing the variants in positive tests, found the Indian variant now makes up 20 per cent of all cases, showing it is edging out the Kent variant, now at 78 per cent.

The Sanger lab found 895 samples containing the Indian B1617.2 variant in those six areas between April 25 and May 8, not including people who had travelled into England from abroad. 

But only Sefton is keeping pace with the national vaccine rollout, having got at least one dose to 86 per cent of over-40s, while it the England average is 83 per cent.

The five other areas are behind on the measure and Nottingham had reached only 74 per cent of eligible adults by May 9, with only 75 per cent in Leicester.

All but Sefton are also below the national average on getting two doses to everyone over the age of 70 (90 per cent) and four out of the six are behind on the proportion of over-50s to have had both doses.

Although figures suggest low vaccine rates aren’t causing high rates – most cases are in young adults – they will raise concerns that outbreaks could quickly turn deadly if older people aren’t protected. Eighteen people are reported to have been hospitalised with the variant in Bolton, with ‘the majority’ of them not fully vaccinated.

And MailOnline’s analysis of official data shows five out of the six hotspots for the variant have vaccine uptake lower than the national average. 

Local outbreaks of the alarming new strain sprung up in Bolton, Blackburn, Sefton in Merseyside, Bedford, Nottingham and Leicester this month as Public Health England confirmed it has found 1,313 cases so far. 

At the most recent count the Sanger Institute in London, which is analysing the variants in positive tests, found the Indian variant now makes up 20 per cent of all cases, showing it is edging out the Kent variant, now at 78 per cent.

The Sanger lab found 895 samples containing the Indian B1617.2 variant in those six areas between April 25 and May 8, not including people who had travelled into England from abroad. 

But only Sefton is keeping pace with the national vaccine rollout, having got at least one dose to 86 per cent of over-40s, while it the England average is 83 per cent.

The five other areas are behind on the measure and Nottingham had reached only 74 per cent of eligible adults by May 9, with only 75 per cent in Leicester.

All but Sefton are also below the national average on getting two doses to everyone over the age of 70 (90 per cent) and four out of the six are behind on the proportion of over-50s to have had both doses.

Although figures suggest low vaccine rates aren’t causing high rates – most cases are in young adults – they will raise concerns that outbreaks could quickly turn deadly if older people aren’t protected. Eighteen people are reported to have been hospitalised with the variant in Bolton, with ‘the majority’ of them not fully vaccinated.

Bolton has taken the vaccine rollout into its own hands and is giving jabs to young adults in a bid to slow the spread of the variant, which scientists fear is more infectious than the Kent strain.   

The MHRA, Britain’s drug regulator, is expected to issue a decision this week on whether the J&J vaccine can be used in Britain and among which age groups. 

It is unclear if the jab will be restricted in any age groups. In the US, it has been given the go-ahead for all Americans. 

But J&J proactively delayed the roll-out of its jab in Europe over concerns of its link to blood clots.

The decision was taken after six rare blood clot cases were recorded out of 7million doses dished out – a risk of less than one in a million.

The condition in question, known as cerebral sinus venous thrombosis (CSVT), is the development of a blood clot in a vein that carries blood away from the brain. Experts say it is occurring in combination with low levels of blood platelets.

Officials insist the disorder — the same as the one seen in AstraZeneca’s vaccine — is extremely rare but seems to be happening slightly more often in young people who have been vaccinated. 

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), No10’s expert vaccine advisory group, suggested the J&J vaccine could be restricted in younger Brits last month.

He added: [It] uses the same technology platform as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, albeit a different adenovirus vector.

‘So although the most recent data about this rare adverse event in the US still has many uncertainties it clearly requires both the MHRA and JCVI to scrutinise any new data related to both vaccines as it emerges.

‘The observation of cases of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia in those receiving the Jansen vaccine in the US will need to be carefully reviewed – depending on outcomes of any review there may be implications for the recommendation of the Janssen vaccine in the younger age groups in the UK where the risk from severe Covid is much less than in older age groups and in those with underlying illnesses.’

Both AstraZeneca and the J&J vaccines are viral vector types, which use a weakened version of a different virus to deliver instructions to human cells.

They tell the cells to produce a harmless piece of Covid, known as a spike protein, so the body can recognise it if the real virus infects them. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk