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Bulgarian Immunologist: AstraZeneca Vaccine Efficacy Below 95 Percent

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The vaccine works. For now, Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines do have effect. With the AstraZeneca vaccine, the adequate immune response is not 95%, but is lower, and some countries now have second thoughts about buying these vaccines. Bulgaria ordered most vaccines from AstraZeneca, said on BNT Prof. Todor Kantardzhiev, Director of the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD).

The EC also started consultations on the Russian vaccine Sputnik V based on human adenovirus which in combination with AstraZeneca,based on monkey adenovirus, may boost the immune response. Moderna and Pfizer are same vaccines.

As for the Pfizer vaccine – 6 doses can be made from 1 vial, so far we made 5. This increases by 20% the number of vaccinated without changing the jab dose.

Immunity acquired after vaccination lasts for several months, for 7-8 months the coronavirus immunity is guaranteed. The level of antibodies testifies to the presence of immunity. The antibody level is not the leading criterion for whether the vaccine works or not. The most important is cellular immunity. For instance, there is cellular immunity for viral infections we had as children. The course of infection is different in different age groups Prof. Kantardzhiev explained.

Prof. Kantardzhiev stressed that we should trust the vaccination headquarters, experienced people have developed this plan. The priority groups for vaccination are the frontline health workers, people with permanent disabilities, nursing homes inmates. People who are very keen to get vaccinated should have patience and wait, Prof . Kantardzhiev said further.

With the vaccines received in Bulgaria by yesterday our country’s vaccination preparedness is comparable with that in Finland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. The vaccination arrangements made by the Ministry of Health will be implemented.

According to the director of the NCIPD, there is a difference between mutation and new strain. “For 10 years I have been the chairman of the so-called “expert council and vaccine prophylactics”. The most important thing is whether the applied vaccines have effect on the genetic line,” he said.

Every virus transmitted from person to person for a long time mutates. There’s 4,000 mutations of the coronavirus that started in Wuhan, Kantardzhiev said. Most likely, this mutation is present in Bulgaria too. We have circumstantial data on mutated virus found in people coming from the UK.

Some countries are overstocking on vaccines, which is bad, he said.

The EU and the EC have done wonders. The US have done wonders – by mid-December they have vaccinated more than two million people, but herd immunity will not be achieved until the end of 2021, Prof. Kantardzhiev concluded.

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