Back in August, I wrote about how essential the decisions of vaccine dosing and intervals were to avoiding future lockdowns. Indeed, the fact the UK has conducted clinical trials on dosing intervals and mix-and-match doses, then executed upon the results in nationwide clinical guidance, may well be the reason the UK hadn't seen the winter waves that appeared on the European continent despite England having no restrictions (until the precautionary ones which were recently introduced for Omicron).
It seems the Vaccine Taskforce has played another blinder here. Recall from my previous blog post how critical I was of the decision to cancel orders of the Valneva vaccine. Indeed, I am still critical of this decision on the basis that it may undermine the UK's domestic vaccine production capability - however there may have been more reason to this decision than previously understood.
This morning, the results of the COV-BOOST study were published in The Lancet. The study found that all vaccines tested boosted boosted antibody and neutralising responses after an initial course of two Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. However, after an initial course of two Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, the Valneva vaccine was unable to boost immunity. All other booster vaccines were able to boost responses.
Yesterday, the day before this study was published, the UK Government announced procurement of the 114 million vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
Johnathan Van-Tam is named as one of the authors on the COV-BOOST study and the study was funded by the UK Vaccine Taskforce, meaning they were likely able to see the results prior to the procurement decisions being made.
If the Government was able to successfully procure vaccines on the basis of this data before it was published, they have played a blinder and successfully gotten ahead of the curve on countries waiting for the evidence from the UK to inform them on which vaccines to buy for boosters.
What's more, the EU have just secured their order for Valneva vaccines, right before the results of this study have shown them to be useless following two Pfizer vaccine doses. Yet another win from not being in the EU vaccine procurement scheme.