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There is no data to suggest England's end to lockdown on 21 June might be delayed, the business secretary has said - but he cannot give a guarantee. Some scientists believe the reopening date should be delayed until more people are fully vaccinated. Most people in hospital in Bolton - a Covid hotspot - have only had one dose, a leading doctor there said. The variant first identified in India is now believed to be responsible for up to three-quarters of new Covid cases in the UK. Cases of the Indian variant are still mainly focused in hotspots such as Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen - but most parts of the country now have small s of cases, Public Health England said.
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What causes a spike in coronavirus cases?
Covid vaccination campaigns are under way in the UK and across the world. A range of vaccines are being used to reduce people's chances of getting sick, needing hospital treatment or dying.
It is more than a year since the virus first emerged, yet many people are still vulnerable. The restrictions on our lives help keep the virus in check as they reduce opportunities for the virus to spread.
Vaccines teach our bodies to fight the infection and are "the" exit strategy from the pandemic. Pfizer and Moderna both developed RNA vaccines - a new approach that is incredibly quick to de. They inject a tiny fragment of the virus's genetic code into the body, which starts producing part of the coronavirus and pushes the body to mount a defence.
The Oxford vaccine is subtly different as it uses a harmless virus to carry the same genetic material into the body.
This has been approved in the UK and Europe. It is the easiest of the three to use as it can be stored in a fridge, rather than needing very cold temperatures.
A single-dose Covid vaccine made by Janssen has now been approved for use in the UK. Because only one dose is needed - and the vaccine can be stored in a fridge - it could have a ificant impact around the world. A billion doses are planned this year.
The big three - pfizer/biontech, moderna and oxford/astrazeneca
Another jab, Novavaxis also being reviewed by drugs regulators. It uses a different, old-school, approach to vaccines - proteins from the virus and a chemical to prime the immune system are injected into the body.
There are other noteworthy vaccines, even if they are not being used in Europe and the US. The Sinovac, CanSino and Sinopharm vaccines have been developed by scientists in China and deals have ed with other countries in Asia and South America. Around one million people in China are reported to have been given the Sinopharm injection. The Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Research Centre, is also effective according to late stage trial published in The Lancet.
Some people have been immunised.
Protecting yourself and others from covid
The vaccine, which works in a similar way to the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines has also been deemed to be safe - and offer complete protection against hospitalisation and death. It is hard to compare one company's with another as their trials will have been conducted in slightly different ways and at different points in the pandemic.
However, all the main vaccines seem to have a large impact on your chances of needing hospital treatment or dying from Covid. Nonetheless, one of the most important questions - do they stop you spreading the virus - remains unknown. Understanding which method produces the best will be explored in challenge trials where people are deliberately infected with the virus. New versions of the coronavirus are emerging in countries around the world.
Why do we need a vaccine?
However, there is a warning from Janssen and Novavax, which have the first "real-world" data on the new variants. Both showed a dip in their overall effectiveness in South Africa, where a new and worrying variant has been spreading. The were still good and clearly better than no vaccine at all, but they emphasise how coronavirus is a moving target.
We may need to change the vaccines we use in the future. Covid vaccines: How fast is worldwide progress?
Coronavirus second wave? why cases increase
How many people have been vaccinated so far? How do we know Covid vaccines are safe? Why do we need a vaccine? All three are supposed to be given as two doses. When will I get my Covid jab? How many people have been vaccinated in the UK so far?
Janssen and Novavax. UK orders extra 40m doses of Valneva vaccine. What is the rest of the world doing?
What do we know about China's coronavirus vaccines? What we know about India's coronavirus vaccines Covid vaccines: How fast is worldwide progress?
Are they all equally effective? What drugs can help treat coronavirus? What about variants?
What is the Brazil variant and do vaccines work against it? What still needs to be done? Huge-scale manufacturing to produce billions of doses and distribute them around the world Research to find out how long protection lasts Research to discover what effect vaccine have on the spread of the virus. What do I need to know about the coronavirus?
Related Topics. More on this story. Published 5 days ago.
Published 1 day ago. Published 10 May.