UK health minister: too early to say impact of variants on vaccines

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COVID-19 vaccinations in Hartlepool

LONDON (Reuters) - More work needs to be done to assess the impact of the most concerning coronavirus variants on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, British health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.

Hancock said the government was monitoring the results of work to assess the efficacy of existing vaccines against variants of concern, adding that data would be published when possible.

"We do not have a point estimate for the difference in the efficacy of the vaccine. The efficacy needs to be measured both in terms of your likelihood of catching the disease, and in terms of your likelihood of being hospitalised or dying from the disease," he told lawmakers.

"There is a significant amount of work underway to understand, all those things, both in labs and in the field... and we will publish as much information as we get, as soon as we credibly can."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden)