Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram says the new study by United Kingdom scientists which found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may offer protection for a lifetime is “very good news” for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
British newspaper The Sun reported that scientists from Oxford and Switzerland, writing in the journal Nature, noted that apart from generating virus-busting antibodies, the AstraZeneca vaccine also creates “training camps” in the body for search-and-destroy T-cells, which can kill even new variants.
“It means the body can continue making these vital cells long after the antibodies have waned- possibly for the rest of your life,” the newspaper report stated.
Responding to the news during yesterday’s Ministry of Health virtual media briefing on Covid-19, Parasram said although he would not want to cast the study in stone, “it is a very good study to take note of”.
“Initially when vaccines were being utilised and manufactured, people were saying that we will be at eight months to a year at best in terms of immunity,” he said. “The study seems to suggest that you will get lifelong immunity from AstraZeneca. Again it’s early days and things can change depending on what types of variants come along.”
Parasram said the study supports the use of AstraZeneca, one of the few viral vaccines that decrease the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Parasram also pointed to a new study out of Sri Lanka on the Sinopharm vaccine, which suggests that the vaccine gives very good protection against the Delta variant.
“And it’s again very good news for the country because we have a large quantity of Sinopharm in Trinidad and Tobago for use. And we have used AstraZeneca, so very good news by way of research for both AstraZeneca and Sinopharm,” Parasram said.
“I would say that the second study is very new. It’s out of Sri Lanka. It has not been peer-reviewed. It is a good sign, but it needs to be peer reviewed before that data can be shared in its entirety,” he noted.
More than 176,000 people have been fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines in the country.