The scientist who led the creation of the Oxford immunizer against covid said that vaccinating everyone with booster doses is unnecessary. She also called for the doses to be sent to countries in need.
Professor Sarah Gilbert told the British Daily Telegraph that some vulnerable groups of people need reinforcements, but that in most cases immunity is “lasting a long time”.
“We need to get vaccines to countries where few people have been vaccinated so far,” she said.
The UK’s vaccine advisory body is expected to give a final opinion on booster doses in the country in the coming days.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has said that a third dose should be given to people with weakened immune systems, which corresponds to up to half a million people in the UK. But the committee has not yet decided whether the third dose will be extended to other groups.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday (09/09) that he was awaiting the JCVI’s “final recommendation” but was “confident” that a booster program would begin later in September.
The interim recommendation issued by the JCVI in July suggested that more than 30 million people should receive a third dose, including all adults over 50 years of age.
The UK Medicines Regulator (MHRA) has approved the use of Pfizer and AstraZeneca as booster vaccines against covid, paving the way for implementation before winter.
Scientist Sarah Gilbert, who began developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in early 2020 when covid was first identified in China, said the decision on booster doses needed to be carefully considered.
She told the Telegraph: “We’re going to look at every situation; the immunocompromised and the elderly will be boosted. But I don’t think we need to boost everyone. Immunity is lasting a long time in most people.”
However, she said the UK needed to help more countries around the world with the supply of vaccines. “We have to do better in this regard. The first dose has the biggest impact.”
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, agreed that there is a “worldwide fire, with enormous pressure on health systems in many, many countries”.
He told the BBC that the UK has a “moral obligation” to help other countries, adding: “There is such a big risk, morally, from our perspective — there is a risk to trade, there is a risk to economies, but they are. also our friends and colleagues who need to be protected and we are losing them with each passing day.”
Pollard also said that the UK still has high levels of protection against the virus, despite the drop in people’s immune response levels some time after they received the vaccine. The JCVI needs to better investigate cases of people who end up hospitalized, he added.
More than 48.3 million people in the UK (88.8% of the population aged 16 and over) received the first dose of the vaccine and 43.7 million received both doses.
The UK has ordered more than 540 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccines, including the four so far approved for use — Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.
However, there are big differences in the pace of progress in different parts of the world, and the government has pledged to donate 100 million excess doses to the poorest countries before mid-2022.
Have watched our new videos on
? Subscribe to our channel!