Government scrapping affordable starter homes ‘deplorable’, say MPs

A government plan to deliver discounted starter homes has left 85,000 young people waiting in vain for an affordable place to live, in a policy branded “deplorable” by a cross-party committee of MPs.

Robert Booth www.theguardian.com

The 2015 initiative to build 200,000 homes and sell them at a 20% discount was formally scrapped this year without a single home being built. But £173m was spent buying land, a damning report by the Commons public accounts committee said. It is now on course to deliver only 6,600 homes and is being replaced by a new scheme.

The influential committee highlighted the abandoned scheme as a waste of time and resources as part of a broadside against government housing policy, which it said has been “stringing expectant young people along for years” with housing policies that “come to nothing as ministers come and go with alarming frequency” – there have been 19 since 1997.

It also criticised the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for failing to say how it will reach its ambition of building 300,000 homes a year in England and accused ministers of an “alarming blurring” of the definition of affordable housing.

The attack came a week after annual figures showed construction of the cheapest social housing remained at close to its lowest level since the 1980s, with just 6,566 homes built between March 2019 and April 2020. Affordable homes of all kinds numbering 57,644 were built in England but social housing experts have estimated 145,000 new affordable homes are needed annually. Official figures on Tuesday revealed housebuilding starts fell by almost 40% during the pandemic.

“The department for ‘housing’ is at risk of losing the right to the title,” said Meg Hillier MP, chair of the committee. “It has serially, constantly failed to deliver affordable new homes or even make a serious attempt to execute its own housing policies or achieve targets before they are ditched, unannounced – costs sunk and outcomes unknown.… MHCLG needs to ditch the false promises and set out clear, staged, funded plans, backed by the necessary laws and with a realistic prospect of delivering.”

The Starter Homes scheme fizzled out when mortgage lenders raised the difficulty of valuing properties with discounts applied.

David O Leary, policy director at the Home Builders Federation, said its failure “demonstrates the importance of ensuring that proper consideration is given to the practical implementation of interventions and their market impacts as early as possible”.

The PAC said the government remained unable to say when its new starter home policy – called First Homes, which offers 30% discounted homes to local first-time buyers – will deliver the first properties to purchase.

“Its reliance on developer contributions to fund First Homes is part of an opaque, complex mechanism which risks less money being available to local authorities for housing and infrastructure,” the report said. “The department does not have a timetable or target for delivering First Homes but is planning a pilot to build 1,500 First Homes ‘within the next couple of years’, which it wants to learn from before further planning of the new scheme.”

It also said it was “wearily familiar” that the MHCLG is “unable or unwilling” to clarify how it will achieve its ambition of 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s.

David Renard, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesperson, said: “The government must hand councils the powers to build new homes at a scale not seen since the 1970s when local authorities built 40% of new homes. Councils fully support the aspiration of people wanting to buy their own home and helping those that want to buy to be able to. However not everybody is ready to buy.”

“This report shows how the government’s approach to solving the housing emergency has been focused on all the wrong solutions,” said Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter. “The government has persisted with schemes for expensive homes which often end up not getting built. There is wide public and political support for social housing across the country, but progress is nonexistent.”

An MHCLG spokesperson rejected the PAC report, saying it was “misleading”. “Since 2010 over 663,000 households have been helped into home ownership through government schemes,” they said. “We’re also investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over the next five years – the largest investment in a decade – and our new First Homes scheme will help local people and key workers buy their own home, in the area they already live, at a discount of 30%.”

Robert Jenrick wants information on Liverpool following the arrest of Mayor

[Couldn’t make it up – Owl]

Government demands information from council after Mayor arrest

Liam Thorp www.liverpoolecho.co.uk 

The government has written to Liverpool City Council requesting information as it investigates the situation at the authority following the arrest of Mayor Joe Anderson.

The letter reveals that the city council’s Chief Executive Tony Reeves met with Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick at his request on Monday following Friday’s dramatic news.

Mayor Anderson was arrested on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

Last December the council’s Director of Regeneration Nick Kavanagh was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in a public office nearly a year ago.

Now Catherine Frances, the Director General of Local Government, Strategy & Analysis at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has written to Mr Reeves requesting key information as the government looks to decide what level of intervention may be required at Liverpool City Council.

The letter states: “Dear Mr Reeves, As you are aware, Merseyside Police have been conducting an investigation which has resulted in a number of arrests made on suspicion of fraud, bribery, corruption and misconduct in public office, in December 2019, in September 2020 and most recently on 4 December 2020 in connection with offences of bribery and witness intimidation.

“This investigation involves a significant connection to Liverpool City Council.

“As you are also aware, the Secretary of State has a range of powers available to him under the Local Government Act 1999 in relation to the ‘Best Value’ duty on councils.

“You met with the Secretary of State at his request on Monday 7 December and gave him a range of assurances about the steps you have taken to improve governance in the Council, to ensure that the Council is now operating properly and in line with the duty.”

The letter adds: “Following that conversation, and given the seriousness of the issues, this letter invites your authority to provide by 3pm on 11 December 2020: a) Information about any proposals or plans for your authority to enter into any commitment to dispose of, or otherwise transfer to third parties, or relating to the development of, any real property other than existing domestic property for the purposes of residential accommodation.

“This information should include identifying the property, and indication of its value, and the current position and likely future timetable for the disposal, transfer, or commitment relating to the development of the property.

“b) Information on the steps the authority has taken and proposes to take to secure effective governance, with particular reference to its planning, highways, regeneration and property management functions, and to provide regular updates to the department on these steps.”

Ms Frances continues by asking Mr Reeves to keep her informed on a regular basis about ‘the Council’s ongoing response to these issues.’

She wrote: “As the Secretary of State said to you when you spoke yesterday, the department stands ready to provide the council with the support it needs to ensure that it is able to support the people and City of Liverpool as effectively as possible at this challenging time.”

Responding to the letter, a spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “The council will be responding to the terms of the letter within the timescale requested.”

‘We’ll be shafted’: amid EU trade talks, there’s little optimism at Brixham harbour

If not by the French…….. An early Christmas quiz: What caught Owl’s eye in this article? Hint it’s all in the name of a trawler and remember quotas and the “Nina May”

Steven Morris www.theguardian.com 

Even before the sun rose, the harbour-side of Brixham, which bills itself as the birthplace of the trawling industry, was bustling.

Fishermen, market workers and merchants were busy with their early morning tasks, landing, preparing, and auctioning off gleaming hauls of dover sole, monkfish and scallops.

But in the background, thoughts of the Brexit negotiations taking place hundreds of miles away in London and Brussels were hovering.

“I wish they’d get on and get it sorted,” said Dave Brown as he unloaded a catch of bass from his boat, The Thankful. “This could be a really significant moment for our industry. We want our waters and our quotas back.”

Brown has worked from this famous old Devon port for 40 years. He does not feel fishermen from mainland Europe should be barred completely from British waters. “There’s got to be some compromise but it’s just not fair at the moment.” Is he optimistic a favourable deal will be reached? “Not very, to be honest.”

In truth, there was precious little optimism at the harbour. The most common responses – accompanied by a variety of colourful expletives – were variations on: “We’ll be sold down the river again” or “We’ll be shafted, we always are.”

The mood in Brixham is not helped by a tragedy. Local man Adam Harper, 26, was one of two fishermen who died when the boat the Joanna C sank three miles out to sea last month.

“That is a reminder of the human cost of fishing,” said James Walsh, who manages the fishmonger at Rockfish on the harbourside.

Jamie Walsh: ‘I’d just like to see a fairer deal for the fisherman.’ Photograph: Jim Wileman/The Guardian

“I’d just like to see a fairer deal for the fisherman. We should have a better share of our waters. We’re happy to share but the split needs to favour us more than them. At the moment they [boats from mainland Europe] have free roam and are taking money out of British pockets.”

Brixham has been a fishing port since the middle ages and in the 18th century pioneered the use of sailing trawlers, fast powerful robust boats that targeted demersal fish – cod, sole, plaice, haddock.

In more recent decades the industry has shrunk and the seafood sector, which includes fishing, aquaculture and processing, represents only 0.1% of the UK economy.

But in places such as south Devon it is still hugely important and Brixham is England’s largest market by value of fish sold. This autumn the port enjoyed a run of million-pound weeks, with sales of cuttlefish, scallops and more than 40 types of fish regularly reaching seven figures.

Mike Sharp, the owner of two Brixham beam trawlers, said this was the simple reason why the French and other nations were so keen to maintain excellent access to British waters.

“From Dover to the Isle of Scilly we have the best fish in the world,” said Sharp. “That’s why the French are kicking off so much.”

“We want what I think Boris is trying to achieve – full sovereignty of our waters. Once we have that we can have a yearly agreement to decide who can come in and swap that with the French for access to their waters.”

Sharp, who took part in the pro-Brexit flotilla protest on the Thames in London during the EU referendum campaign, said he is not worried by the prospect of no deal. “I don’t mind if it breaks down. I don’t think that will be bad for fishing at all.”

But compromises have been floated, such as a transition period or taking some fish – for example, pelagic species such as herrings and tuna – out of the negotiations.

Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, the body representing fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said the industry was opposed to a transition period that has been mooted with reviews at the end of three, five, seven or 10 years.

“Justice deferred is justice denied,” he said. “The industry feels that it’s been in a relationship with the EU that has worked systematically to its disadvantage for 40 years, so there’s not really a huge sympathy or appetite for extending anything that looks like being tied into the common fisheries policy.”

Deas added that the industry will be looking to see the detail of the quota arrangements and that reports that the EU had offered to hand up to 18% of fish caught in British waters back was “meaningless” as there were quota shares for 140 different fish species.

“Behind every stock, there’s a story, behind every quota, there’s a story, there’s a community,” he said.

One crucial factor haunting Brixham, however, is that the EU is its largest customer with more than 70% of its catch exported to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

Trevor Sclater, the skipper of Brixham’s newest and biggest beam trawler, Georgina of Ladram, is a rare beast – a anti-Brexit fisherman prepared to speak about it.

“I’ve been anti-Brexit from the start,” he said. “I think it’s disgusting what we’re doing.”

Sclater is for equality. “It should be a level playing field. If we have to stay outside the French 12-mile limit then they should stay outside ours. But, he argues, the industry worked well before Brexit. “We fished, we made a living. Why fix something that isn’t broken?”

He fears that if boats from mainland Europe are banned from fishing off the British coast, countries such as France will stop accepting the fish caught by UK boats.

“I can see on 2 January us not being able to sell our fish. We shouldn’t be putting gateways between ourselves and our nearest neighbours. That’s crazy.”

Another four Covid-related deaths in East Devon and nine more in Exeter

Four more coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in East Devon and another nine in Exeter, according to the latest weekly figures.

East Devon Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data published today (Tuesday, December 8) shows the seven-day toll of 40 across Devon and Cornwall is the region’s highest since the start of May.

They relate to deaths which occurred in the week of November 21 – 27 and were registered up to December 5.

Three of the deaths recorded in East Devon were at hospital and one was at home.

Eight of the fatalities in Exeter were in hospital and one was in a care home.

There were seven deaths in Plymouth; nine in Torbay; three in Teignbridge, two in both North Devon and Mid Devon; and one in the South Hams.

Three deaths due to coronavirus were recorded in Cornwall.

The previous seven-day period saw 34 Covid-related deaths – two of them in East Devon and two in Exeter – recorded across Devon and Cornwall.

In total, 61 Covid-19 deaths have now been registered in East Devon; 27 of them in hospital, 29 in care homes and five at home.

The total for Exeter is 52; 28 of them in hospital, 22 in care homes and two at home.

Some 738 coronavirus-related deaths have been registered across Devon and Cornwall; 422 in hospitals, 255 in care homes, 57 at home, one in a hospice and three ‘elsewhere’.

Of these, 125 have been in Plymouth, 97 in Torbay, 47 in Teignbridge, 32 in North Devon, 27 in Torridge, 25 in Mid Devon, 22 in West Devon, and 20 in the South Hams

A total of 231 deaths due to the virus have been registered in Cornwall.

The ONS figures for Devon and Cornwall include people who have died at home, in hospital, in care homes, hospices, ‘other’ communal places, or ‘elsewhere’.

They are broken down by the local authority area in which the deaths were registered.

Government figures show at total of 1,718 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in East Devon to date. The number for Exeter is 2,777.

Oxford Covid-19 results peer reviewed and published

The Lancet: Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is safe and protects against disease, first published results from phase 3 trials

The results are the first full peer-reviewed efficacy results to be published for a COVID-19 vaccine, and are published in The Lancet.

www.eurekalert.org 

  • First full results from interim analysis confirm that the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222) has an acceptable safety profile and is efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19 disease, with no hospitalisations or severe disease reported in the COVID-19 vaccine group so far
  • First clinical efficacy results of the vaccine are based on a pre-specified pooled analysis of phase 3 trials in UK and Brazil (11,636 people), alongside safety data from a total of 23,745 participants in 4 trials in the UK, Brazil and South Africa

Interim results of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials find that the vaccine protects against symptomatic disease in 70% of cases – with vaccine efficacy of 62% for those given two full doses, and of 90% in those given a half then a full dose (both trial arms pre-specified in the pooled analysis). The results are the first full peer-reviewed efficacy results to be published for a COVID-19 vaccine, and are published in The Lancet.

The vaccine was found to be safe, with only three out of 23,745 participants over a median of 3.4 months experiencing serious adverse events that were possibly related to a vaccine; one in the vaccine arm, one in the control arm, and one in a participant who remains masked to group allocation. All participants have recovered or are recovering, and remain in the trial.

Study author, Dr Merryn Voysey, University of Oxford, UK, says: “The results presented in this report provide the key findings from our first interim analysis. In future analyses, with more data included as it becomes available, we will investigate differences in key subgroups such as older adults, various ethnicities, doses, timing of booster vaccines, and we will determine which immune responses equate to protection from infection or disease.” [1]

Study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard, University of Oxford, UK, says: “Control of the pandemic will only be achieved if the licensing, manufacturing and distribution of these vaccines can be achieved at an unprecedented scale and vaccination is rolled out to those who are vulnerable. Our findings indicate that our vaccine’s efficacy exceeds the thresholds set by health authorities and may have a potential public health impact.” [1]

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus viral vector that cannot cause disease in humans and expresses the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This means the vaccine delivers the spike protein genetic code into vaccinated people’s cells, which then produce the protein, and teaching the immune system to recognise and attack the virus. Past trial results have found that the vaccine induces antibody and T cell immune responses, and is safe in adults aged 18 years and over, including older adults [2].

For the new study, the authors analysed data from 23,745 adults in the UK, Brazil and South Africa (11,730, 10,002, and 2,013 in each country, respectively). The interim analysis published today pools the data from these for analysis, providing greater precision for efficacy and safety outcomes than possible in individual trials and giving a broader understanding of the use of the vaccine in different populations [3].

In the trial, half of the participants were given the COVID-19 vaccine and the other half given a control (either a meningococcal conjugate vaccine or saline [4]). The trial was originally designed to assess a single dose of the vaccine, but following review of the immune response data in the UK phase 1/2 study (which found a second dose boosted immune responses) another dose was added to the trial protocol, then, once approved, second doses were given to participants.

Participants in the COVID-19 vaccine group received two doses each containing 5×1010 viral particles (a standard dose). However, a subset (1,367 people) in the UK received a half dose as their first dose, followed by a full second dose. This was because of differences in the results of quantification methods between batches of the vaccine. The low-dose/standard-dose group did not include adults over the age of 55 years as the low-dose was given in an early stage of the trial before recruitment of older adults had commenced.

The authors used the numbers of cases of symptomatic and asymptomatic infection to determine vaccine efficacy.

Overall, most participants were aged 18-55 years (82%,19,588/23,745) as people aged 56 years and older were recruited later and will be studied in future analyses of the trial. In the 11,636 people included in the vaccine efficacy against symptomatic disease analysis, 12% (1,418/11,636 people) were older adults and most were white (83%, 9,625/11,636 people).

Findings from the trial safety data

Safety was monitored for a median of 3.4 months in all 23,745 participants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Out of 23,745 participants, 168 experienced a total of 175 severe adverse events over the period, but 172 events were unrelated to the COVID-19 or control vaccines. One event was in the control group (a case of haemolytic anaemia), one event was in the COVID-19 vaccine group (a case of transverse myelitis considered possibly related to the vaccine), and a case of severe fever (> 40oC) was reported in South Africa in a participant who remains masked to group allocation and recovered rapidly without an alternative diagnosis and was not hospitalised. All three participants have recovered or are recovering, and continue to be part of the trial.

Safety monitoring of all participants in the trial continues.

Vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease

The primary outcome of the study was to determine how many cases of symptomatic COVID-19 disease (confirmed by positive test, and the participant having a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste) there were in participants who had received two doses of the vaccine (with the first dose being either low or standard dose, and the second dose being standard dose), compared with controls. Only cases that occurred 14 days after the second vaccination had been given were included (11,636 participants in the UK and Brazil trials).

There were 131 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 disease more than 14 days after the second vaccine dose in these 11,636 people. This included 30/5,807 (0.5%) cases in the vaccine group and 101/5,829 (1.7%) cases in the control group, which equates to a vaccine efficacy of 70%.

When breaking this down based on vaccine dose, those who received two standard doses of the vaccine saw a vaccine efficacy of 62% (based on 27/4,440 (0.6%) cases in the vaccine group, and 71/4,455 (1.6%) cases in the control group), and the low-dose/standard-dose group vaccine efficacy was 90% (based on 3/1,367 (0.2%) cases in the vaccine group, and 30/1,374 (2.2%) cases in the control group).

The authors completed exploratory subgroup analyses at the request of peer-reviewers to study the difference in efficacy against symptomatic disease in the low-dose/standard-dose group and two standard doses group. These were to help understand whether the difference was related to the dose or other factors (participant age and time between vaccine doses [5]). They found that, irrespective of age or time between doses, their analyses suggested higher efficacy in the low-dose/standard-dose group. However, these exploratory analyses provide a suggestion, and will require further research as more data becomes available from the trial.

Five cases of symptomatic COVID-19 disease occurred in people aged over 55 years old, but vaccine efficacy in older age groups could not be assessed as there were too few cases. The authors say that this analysis will be completed in future.

“In order to assess vaccine efficacy, we need to have a sufficient number of COVID-19 cases among participants to indicate that the vaccine is protecting them from disease. Since recruitment of older adults started later than in younger adults there has been less follow up time for these cohorts and less time to accrue COVID-19 cases. This means we have to wait longer to have sufficient data to provide good vaccine efficacy estimates in smaller subgroups.” says Dr Voysey. [1]

Asymptomatic transmission

The trial also measured protection against asymptomatic infection by asking 6,638 UK participants to complete weekly COVID tests. However, it is important to note these data are secondary outcomes [6] and findings need to be confirmed when there is more data available from the trial.

There were 69 cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 disease identified in the UK study’s weekly COVID-19 testing of 6,638 people. This included 29/3,288 (0.9%) cases in the vaccine group, and 40/3,350 (1.2%) cases in the control group, leading to a vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic transmission of 27%.

In the low-dose/standard-dose group, there were 7/1,120 (0.6%) cases in the vaccine group and 17/1,127 (1.5%) cases in the control group, resulting in a vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic transmission of 59%. In people given two standard doses, there were 22/2,168 (1%) cases in the vaccine group and 23/2,223 (1%) in the control group, which equates to a vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic transmission of 4%.

Protection against severe disease

Cases of severe disease and hospitalisation were monitored for in all 23,745 participants. From 21 days after the first dose there were 10 cases hospitalised for COVID-19, all in the control arm, and two were classified as severe, including one death. These are also secondary outcomes and will require additional confirmation.

Co-author, Professor Sarah Gilbert, University of Oxford, UK, says: “Despite global spread of COVID-19, a large proportion of the population in many countries have not been infected and are not immune. Vaccines may play an important role in increasing immunity, preventing severe disease, and reducing the health crisis, so the possibility that more than one efficacious vaccine may be approved for use in the near future is encouraging. Here we have shown for the first time that an adenoviral vectored vaccine – a type of vaccine technology which has been in use since 2009 – is efficacious and could contribute to disease control in the COVID-19 pandemic.” [1]

The authors note that they are not yet able to assess duration of protection, as the first trials were initiated in April 2020 and all disease episodes have accrued within six months of the first dose being administered. Further evidence will be required to determine duration of protection and the need for additional booster doses of vaccine.

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Maria Deloria Knoll and Dr Chizoba Wonodi, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA (who were not involved in the study), say: “Oxford-AstraZeneca’s US$2-3 per dose agreement with the COVAX facility holds good promise for equitable access for LMICs, compared with the high cost of the two mRNA vaccines that have also reported more than 90% efficacy. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine can also use routine refrigerated cold chain, which is important since the ultra-low temperature freezers required to store mRNA vaccines could be unaffordable and impractical in many countries and in settings such as nursing homes. However, other challenges with any two-dose regimen will exist in many LMICs where platforms to easily identify, locate, and reach–twice– adults targeted for vaccination are lacking. If the two vaccine injections require different doses, this will add complexity for health workers with little formal training, but can be managed with innovative packaging and proper change management to reduce errors… When faced with vaccine choices, National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups will have to consider all factors and decide which vaccine is right for their setting. Efficacy is an important consideration, but so are pragmatics of delivery, community acceptance, longevity of effect, whether a vaccine reduces infection and transmission as well as disease, efficacy in high-risk groups, and, of course, safety. Despite the outstanding questions and challenges in delivering these vaccines, it is hard not to be excited about these findings and now the existence of three safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines, with 57 more in clinical trials. With a range of manufacturers, a very large global investment in production and cooperation in procurement and distribution, it seems likely that 2021 will see COVID-19 vaccines made available to all countries in the world. Perhaps by this time next year, we can celebrate the global control of SARS-CoV-2, in person.”

###

Peer-reviewed / Randomised Controlled Trial / People

**There will be a UK Science Media Centre briefing at 2pm UK time on Tuesday 8 December about this study. Please see details in notes to editors**

NOTES TO EDITORS

This study was funded by UK Research and Innovation, National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lemann Foundation, Rede D’OR, Brava and Telles Foundation, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Thames Valley and South Midland’s NIHR Clinical Research Network, and AstraZeneca. A full list of researchers and their institutions is available in the Article.

The labels have been added to this press release as part of a project run by the Academy of Medical Sciences seeking to improve the communication of evidence. For more information, please see: http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/AMS-press-release-labelling-system-GUIDANCE.pdf if you have any questions or feedback, please contact The Lancet press office pressoffice@lancet.com

[1] Quote direct from author and cannot be found in the text of the Article.

[2] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31604-4/fulltext and https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32466-1/fulltext

[3] A statistical analysis plan for the global pooled analysis of these studies was developed prior to data lock and analysis and finalised with extensive feedback from national and international regulators (see appendix).

[4] In the UK trial arm, meningococcal Group A, C, W and Y conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) was chosen as the control group vaccine to minimise the chance of accidental participant unblinding due to local or systemic reactions to the vaccine. The Brazilian arm of the trial used MenACWY as the control for the first dose and saline for the second dose. In the South African arm, participants randomised to the control group were administered saline solution.

[5] Participants were expected to receive the two injections four weeks apart, but because of the time required to review the data, update and agree the protocol with regulators, and with some manufacturing delays, most participants had delays in receiving their second vaccine. 53% of UK participants (1,459/2,741) in the low-dose/standard-dose group received a second dose at least 12 weeks after their first dose (median 84 days), and 0.8% (22/2,741) received a second dose within 8 weeks or less. For UK participants receiving two standard doses, the median time between doses was 69 days (approximately 10 weeks). However, in the Brazilian trial, the majority (2,493/4,088, 61%) of participants receiving two standard doses received a second dose within 6 weeks of the first dose (median 36 days).

[6] Secondary analyses are planned outcome measures that are not as important as the primary outcome measure but are still of interest in evaluating the effect of an intervention – see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/help/glossary/secondary-outcome-measure

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