Britain will allow mixing of COVID-19 vaccines on rare occasions, as fears grow NHS could be overwhelmed


The United Kingdom will allow people to be given shots of different COVID-19 vaccines on rare occasions, despite a lack of evidence about the extent of immunity offered by mixing doses.

In a departure from other strategies globally, the Government said people could be given a mix-and-match of two COVID-19 shots, for example if the same vaccine dose was out of stock, according to guidelines published on New Year’s Eve.

“[If] the same vaccine is not available, or if the first product received is unknown, it is reasonable to offer one dose of the locally available product to complete the schedule,” according to the guidelines.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at Public Health England, said this would only happen on extremely rare occasions, and that the Government was not recommending the mixing of vaccines, which require at least two doses given several weeks apart.

COVID-19 has killed more 74,000 people in the United Kingdom — the second-highest death toll in Europe — and health officials are racing to deliver doses to help end the pandemic as fears grow that the National Health Service could be overwhelmed.

Earlier this week, the Government reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the outbreak as wards fill up with COVID-19 patients.

The UK has been at the forefront of approving the new coronavirus vaccines, becoming the first country to give emergency authorisation to the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines last month.

Both vaccines are meant to be administered as two shots, given several weeks apart, but they were not designed to be mixed together.

The Government’s new guidelines said there was “no evidence on the interchangeability of the COVID-19 vaccines although studies are underway”.

However, the advice said that while every effort should be made to complete the dosing regimen with the same vaccine, if the patient is at “immediate high risk” or is considered “unlikely to attend again” they can be given different vaccines.

Britain sparked controversy earlier this week by announcing plans to delay giving the coronavirus vaccine booster shot in an attempt to ensure more people could be given the more limited protection conferred by a single dose.

The top US infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, said on Friday he did not agree with the approach of delaying the second dose up to 12 weeks.

“I would not be in favour of that,” he told CNN.

“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Reuters



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Champagne is too special to be enjoyed only on special occasions. Here are 5 bottles to pop anytime this winter


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Along with almost every major celebration comes a call to pop open the bubbly. Champagne has a long-standing reputation for being the go-to drink to celebrate or toast to any special occasion and is even a defining drink for New Year’s Eve. But there’s more to Champagne than the big countdown or that rare milestone. After this year, a lesson worth taking away is that you shouldn’t wait for the special occasion. Instead, make the occasion special on your own. Champagne is a sublime way to do that.

First, let’s get a few requirements out of the way. Remember: For Champagne to be true Champagne, it has to be produced in the eponymous northeast region of France. Everything else is simply sparkling wine—although there are many, many equally satisfying and sophisticated sparkling wines out there that go by other names, such as Crémant (made in the same style as traditional Champagne but produced in other regions within France), Cava (Spain), and Franciacorta (Italy). And word to the wise: Officially, there is no such thing as “American Champagne” or “California Champagne.” It’s simply sparkling wine here, too. Anything else is just marketing.

And then there are three primary grapes used to produce Champagne: white Chardonnay grapes and red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes; a blend of the three is what makes up most classic nonvintage bottles.

But there are many more styles of Champagne that deserve to be enjoyed just as often as any other wine. For those who are interested in the terroir (soil), a Blanc de Blancs is made using only Chardonnay grapes, a grape considered to be one of the most expressive of its terroir. While rosé has risen astronomically in popularity in the past decade, rosé Champagne has been produced since the 18th century. For the collectors, the Champagne houses also offer prestige cuvées, the finest Champagne the house produces and perfect for aging.

Here is a selection of certified Champagne wines in a variety of styles to consider popping open anytime this winter.

Beau Joie: Beau Joie specializes in zero dosage (no added sugar) Champagnes, aiming to appeal to a more health-conscious consumer. (That said, remember this is still an alcoholic beverage, and there is no such thing as a “clean wine” or a purely “healthy wine.”) Zero dosage allows the purity of the fruit to shine through without being masked by the addition of sugar. While it’s not easy to create such a delicately balanced bottle without adding sugar, as is common in the industry, consumer demand for this low-sugar approach has been on the rise for the past few years. Beau Joie’s bottles are extra special on the outside, too, as they are encased in an intricate suit of armor made from second-generation scrap copper, a functional design element that helps cool the Champagne quicker (ideal for impromptu celebrations) and keeps it colder for longer without the need for an ice bucket, which, shockingly, not everyone has at home. SRP: $69.

Champagne Henriot

Many wine lovers keep old bottles around for home decor, but Champagne Henriot takes it to the next level with its limited-edition Garden Box Rosé Kit: It not only includes a bottle of brut rosé but also can be used as a flowerpot. This copper pink–hued rosé blend showcases Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims while retaining the fresh minerality of Chardonnay, with a palate of red berry fruits. SRP: $75.

Valentin Leflaive

Valentin Leflaive is the culmination of prolific Burgundy producer Olivier Leflaive and Erick de Sousa of Champagne de Sousa, from Avize in la Côte des Blancs. The result is a Champagne with unique minerality and complexity thanks to the Burgundy barrels. This Champagne rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims. The base wine (70% of the blend) is aged for seven months in stainless-steel vats. The 30% of reserve wine added was aged in Burgundy barrels, those used to make grands crus wines from Olivier Leflaive. Following the secondary fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a cellar. Elegant and bright with red fruit flavors, the Champagne offers a fine mousse that supports the fresh and complex citrus notes with distinct hints of lemon, cherry, and strawberry. SRP: $75.

Ayala

The boutique maison, led by chef de cave Caroline Latrive (one of the only female cellar masters in the region), produces Chardonnay-focused wines that deliver immediate pleasure, freshness, and elegance. Ayala is, for the most part, an under-the-radar Champagne brand. But the 2013 Blanc de Blancs could change minds on that one. Produced only in exceptional years, this 100% Chardonnay wine is the ultimate expression of Latrive’s winemaking style. It offers remarkable minerality and roundness. And the flavors build as it sits in the glass—becoming almost velvety—with notes including passion fruit, citrus, white peaches, and honey. SRP: $110.

Pol Roger:

Pol Roger is one of the few Grande Marque (most prestigious) Champagne houses that remains family-owned and operated. It is known for its tradition of aging and hand-riddling every bottle in the 4.66-mile-long cellars under the estate’s château, situated on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, France. The house’s rosé exhibits a deep salmon-pink color with a fine stream of small bubbles. The nose has aromas of ripe fruit with elements of citrus (blood orange), pomegranate, and small wild red berries. On the palate, a deep mineral character; a fine, creamy ripeness; and a hint of vanilla. The wine is tender and smooth, with a balance of delicate freshness and refined elegance. SRP: $123.

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AFL Finals 2020 | Geelong Cats steamroll Brisbane Lions to set up grand occasions for Ablett and Dangerfield


They’d taken a hit before the first bounce with the withdrawal of defender Darcy Gardiner, who injured his knee at training earlier in the week. The versatile Gardiner, one of the competition’s more underrated competitors, was slated to play on Dangerfield when he went forward.

That created headaches for Lions coach Chris Fagan, who spoke pre-match about the need to restrict Geelong’s possession-based game. That meant winning more of the ball in close. If the Lions could hold sway in the midfield, the reasoning went, Dangerfield wouldn’t have the luxury of going forward as often.

By the end of the first quarter, Fagan had a problem. Geelong were dominating, even bullying the Lions at ground level, with clearances at 15 to 4 and scoring shots at seven to two. They’d missed with five of them, but the Cats would win via weight of opportunities if the Lions couldn’t lift around the contest.

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Six minutes into the second quarter, alarm bells were ringing around the Gabba. Hawkins, beating Harris Andrews early, took his third mark for his second goal, and Gary Rohan outpointed Brandon Starcevich one-out to kick a ripper. The Cats were out to a 17-point lead and looked set to run away with it.

Now it was do-or-die for the Lions. They got one back quickly, Jarrod Berry tearing through the next two stoppages for Eric Hipwood to keep the home side and crowd involved. Lachie Neale and Mitch Robinson lifted, too, and as the Cats’ entries inside 50 slowed, Andrews got better control of Hawkins.

Late in the quarter, Neale bombed the ball through from 55 metres on the run; at the other end, Sam Menegola had sprayed a shot on the run, with Hawkins gesticulating madly from the top of the goal square. At half-time, the Lions had clawed the clearances back to 17–21 the Cats’ way, the margin to five, and the game was on.

But they couldn’t sustain it, despite the crowd at their backs. Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay both missed crucial set shots for the Lions, while Ablett’s interventions defined the quarter and opened up the match-winning break. The ball spent much of the quarter camped at the Cats’ end, the lead out to three goals.

In the last quarter, Ryan Lester – who’d had the unfortunate task of minding Dangerfield in Gardiner’s absence – won a 50-metre penalty and sprayed the set shot. As the ball ricocheted up the other end, his opponent marked near the boundary line and speared the ball to Zach Tuohy for the sealer.

Brisbane Lions 2.0 4.3 5.5 6.6 (42)
Geelong 2.5 4.8 7.11 11.16 (82)

Goals – Brisbane Lions: Cameron 2 Neale 2 Hipwood Rayner. Geelong: Rohan 3 Hawkins 2 Ablett 2 Parfitt Henry Miers Tuohy.
Best – Brisbane Lions: Neale McCarthy McCluggage Rich Lyons. Geelong: Hawkins Dangerfield Parfitt Selwood Duncan Stewart.
Injuries – Brisbane Lions: Gardiner (knee) replaced in selected side by Payne. Geelong: Nil.
Umpires: Findlay Ryan Fleer.
Crowd: 29,121.



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