The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is just as effective at fighting the UK variant as it is the original virus, new research suggests.

Oxford University researchers who developed the vaccine say it has a similar efficacy against the variant first detected in Kent and the South East of the UK, compared to the original strain of Covid-19 that it was tested against.

Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity, and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: “Data from our trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus, but also protects against the novel variant, B117, which caused the surge in disease from the end of 2020 across the UK.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Kirsty Williams told the Welsh Government press briefing that Wales is “on track” to vaccinate all adults over the age of 50 in Wales by May.

“We are vaccinating more people per head of 100,000 than any other part of the UK and that is a tremendous logistical professional and indeed a community response,” she said.

“There are lots of volunteers out there that are assisting our NHS, our primary care practitioners and GP surgeries. It’s a tremendous effort, but I think we’re on track to do just that.”

And the same conference also heard Wales deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones, who said the country's R-rate is now between 0.7 and 0.9.