Britain orders more Pfizer Covid-19 jabs as booster programme nears

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Britain has ordered 35mln new doses of the Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Covid-19 vaccine a day after a study in Israel showed a third or booster jab substantially reduces the risks to the elderly.


The UK ordered 100mln doses of the vaccine when it first became available alongside 100mln of the Astra Zeneca alternative, but subsequent concerns about blood clots mean that those aged under 30 are now given either the Pfizer version or the closely related Moderna vaccine.


Britain is expected to start a booster programme next month, though it is not yet been announced whether this will involving using the vaccine as the first two jabs or will be a mix and match approach.


Israel started to vaccinate its over-60s at the start of August with a booster jab and said this weekend that its latest research indicates it has a substantial in protecting the elderly and valuable.


Its Ministry of Health released the data publicly on Sunday, though the full data from the study was not available.


A study by Oxford University last week reported that two doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines provide protection levels at 75% and 61% after three months, though Pfizer’s efficacy drops off faster after that with little difference between the two after five months.


The study, which was of 3mln swabs, also found that younger got more protection than the elderly.


Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid says: “While we continue to build this wall of defence from Covid-19, it’s also vital we do everything we can to protect the country for the future too – whether that’s from the virus as we know it or new variants.


As part of that plan, the UK government today confirmed that it will also now make antibody tests freely available from tomorrow.


Anyone over the age of 18 and taking a PCR test can elect to have two finger-prick antibody tests to be sent to their home if they are positive.


The news sent shares in Abingdon Health PLC (AIM:ABDX) (AIM:ABDX) rocketing as it said today it was launching a self-test antibody kit in partnership with Biosure,


Whether the government is using the Biosure test as part of its campaign was not clear from the RNS statement, but Abingdon’s share price shot up 72% as investors assumed it was.


And the statement’s wording suggested it would fit the bill.


The test uses a fraction of a drop of finger-prick blood with results in 20 minutes, Abingdon said.


“This allows individuals to know and monitor their own antibody status pre-vaccination, post-vaccination and following infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”


Chris Yates, CEO of Abingdon Health, said: ” For individuals to be able to monitor their own antibody status at home is a great step in the management of COVID-19.


“Our own AbC-19 assay will complement this [Biosure] product.”


Shares rose 22p to 52.5p.

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