Our first question comes from Sue Harris and it’s a great one.
Sue asks: “If the Oxford vaccine doesn’t prove effective in the over 65s for the Brazilian and African mutations will the scientists think of giving a different vaccine for the second dose to cover this?”
Here’s what our Science Editor, Sarah Knapton, has to say:
Oxford has recently started recruiting for trials to see if the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab can be combined with the Pfizer jab and is expected to report in June. If people still need their second dose by then, it may be that they get the Pfizer jab if the Oxford jab has not worked against the variants.
It is likely that the Oxford jab will protect against severe illness and death even if it doesn’t prevent symptomatic infection, so it may not be necessary.
It is also possible that by the time some people get their second dose a tweaked version of the same vaccine will be available to boost against the variants. Both Pfizer and Oxford are currently working on new versions.
However it looks like the most dangerous variants are not spreading, so new versions might not be needed in the short term. It’s likely a new version of the vaccine will be needed each year, just like the flu jab.