The world leaders in Covid-19 vaccination rates are Israel and the United Arab Emirates. They are followed by a handful of countries, each giving between 30 and 45 shots for every 100 inhabitants, including the United States, Britain, Bahrain, Chile and Serbia.
But these handful of countries have followed two different strategies. The US and most others have tried to make sure that someone who gets a first vaccine shot gets the second shot within a few weeks (except in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one shot). Britain has instead maximizes the number of people receiving one ‘jab’ as the British call it – and delayed the second jab, often for about three months.
Kate Bingham, a venture capitalist who led the committee that advised the British government on vaccination, described the strategy as follows: ‘I think this is the right response to public health, which is to show that you get as many people as possible as soon as possible wants to vaccinate. if possible. It’s better to protect everyone a little bit rather than vaccinate fewer people to protect them 10 percent extra. ‘
So far, the data suggest that Britain’s approach works – because even a single shot offers strong protection against the virus.
A delay looks OK
As Dr. Robert Wachter of the University of California, San Francisco, wrote: “According to most vaccine experts, postponing shot # 2 by a few months is unlikely to significantly reduce the ultimate effectiveness of two shots.”
In Britain, the daily number of new Covid cases has dropped by more than 90 per cent since peaking in early January. The decline is greater than in virtually any other country. (In the US, new cases have dropped by 79 per cent since January.) Since the infectious B.1.1.7 variant was first discovered in Britain and is now the country’s dominant virus form, “Britain’s free fall in cases des too impressive, “Wachter told me.” Obviously, their vaccination strategy was very effective. “
British deaths have also fallen in recent weeks:
Britain’s approach not only brings immediate benefits to lives saved; it also reduces the chances of future outbreaks: the fewer people Covid has, the less someone else can infect. This is especially important when more infectious variants are in circulation. Globally, the number of confirmed new cases has risen by 21 percent in the past month.
It is probably too late for the US to change policy and follow the British approach. Doing so will cause confusion and frustration. Yet there are lessons from Britain:
Accelerating a vaccination program has enormous benefits. The U.S. recently delivered about 2.5 million shots a day, up from about 800,000 in mid-January. But the federal government will soon receive close to four million shots a day from the vaccine makers. A big question is whether the government of Biden and the state government will be able to increase the rate at which people get shots in their arms.
For countries where vaccination programs have only just begun, as in many of South America, Africa and Asia, the British approach is worth imitating.
Finally, keep in mind that AstraZeneca was one of the most important vaccines in Britain – the same one that some other European countries stopped using this week, out of concern about blood clots. But there is no sign of an increase in blood clots in Britain. “If the choice may be exposed to Covid-19, or the vaccine is given and protected, then choose the vaccine,” Devi Sridhar, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, wrote yesterday.
It all comes with the usual caveat: if the data changes, so should the lessons. Based on current evidence, however, it appears that Britain has ended up with the most effective vaccination strategy – which is another sign of how powerful the vaccines are.
The latest: A delay in millions of doses ordered from India is likely to delay Britain’s vaccination campaign in the coming weeks.
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Should art help pay museums’ bills?
It started as a response to the pandemic: A temporary policy allowed American museums to sell art from their collections to cover operating costs. Music across the country is now debating whether the measure will be followed.
The old guidelines, from the Association of Directors for Art Museums, allowed museums to sell articles if they no longer fit the mission of an institution and if the proceeds go to buy other art, not to staff salaries or to pay other bills.
Museums that retain the new arrangement say it is necessary for their long-term survival. “It’s misinformed to think that every museum has a board full of billionaires,” said Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum. During the pandemic, the Brooklyn Museum raised nearly $ 35 million in auction sales.
Last month, even the Met – the largest museum in the US – said it might sell items to endorse the salaries of staff cared for at collection.
Those who oppose the continuation of these sales argue that it undermines the mission of museums. “If you want to turn paintings over, there are many other institutions where you can do that,” Erik Neil of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., Told The Times. “And they’re called commercial galleries.”
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Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you Monday. – David
An explanation: Yesterday’s newsletter said that about 1 percent of Covid’s patients in the US were hospitalized. I should have been less definitive and said, as the graph in the newsletter shows, that the hospitalization rate estimates range from 1 percent to 5 percent.
PS The Times received Oscar nominations this week for ‘Time’, one of the company’s first documentaries, and the Op-Doc ‘A Concerto is a Conversation’. (An earlier version of this article was misrepresented by Times Op-Doc who received the nomination.)
You can see today’s print cover here.
Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about Governor Andrew Cuomo. On “Still Processing,” Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris discuss a toxic racial upheaval.
Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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