The AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, one of the vaccines Morocco is using in its national vaccination campaign, could “substantially” reduce the spread of the virus, a preliminary study has found.
A group of researchers from the University of Oxford believe that the AstraZeneca vaccine has “a substantial impact” on the transmission of the coronavirus. Not only does the vaccine protect vaccinated people from developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, but it can also prevent them from infecting others, the researchers found.
The study, however, initially shared on February 1, is yet to undergo peer-review — a necessary step for the approval of scientific studies’ results.
The vaccine’s impact on transmission is critical. As a BBC report explained, “If a vaccine only stops you getting severely ill, but you can still catch and pass on the virus, then everyone will need to be immunised to be protected. But if it also stops you spreading the virus then it would have a far greater impact on the pandemic as each person who is vaccinated indirectly protects other people too.”
If the findings are accurate, the AstraZeneca vaccine could have more positive impact on the population than initially expected.
The preliminary study also found that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 76%, for up to three months after the first dose. After the second dose, meanwhile, the efficacy rate rose to 82%.
These findings on efficacy rates could also have a significant impact on the vaccination campaigns of countries using the AstraZeneca vaccine, such as Morocco.
Earlier studies recommended the injection of a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in approximately three weeks. But, if the vaccine can maintain its efficacy rate for up to three months, it means countries can make new adjustments to their vaccination campaigns.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that the recent study is “hugely encouraging.”
“This report shows the Oxford [AstraZeneca] vaccine works and works well,” he said.