Covid vaccines 'still effective' against fast-spreading mutant strain

Current Covid-19 vaccines will still be effective against the new fast-spreading strain of the virus, according to EU officials.

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, told broadcaster ZDF that ‘according to everything we know so far’ the new strain ‘has no impact on the vaccines’.

Citing talks between European experts, Mr Spahn said the jabs will remain ‘just as effective’.

Spahn was referring especially to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is already being administered in countries including the US and UK and which is on the brink of receiving approval from the European Medicines Agency.

In a statement the French Government supported this claim, saying: ‘This genetic variant does not seem to entail, at this stage of knowledge, a heightened seriousness or a resistance to the vaccine.’

It comes after Boris Johnson said on Saturday the variant could be up to 70% more infectious than the main strain, based on preliminary data, while the French Government said this ‘has not been demonstrated at this stage’.

A health ministry spokesman said the EU experts’ meeting had taken place on Sunday and included representatives of Berlin’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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