UK Vaccine Chief Says Constant Booster Shots Is ‘Not Sustainable’

A red London bus stops at a bus stop displaying a government advertisement promoting the NHS covid-19 vaccine Booster program in London on December 17, 2021. - Britain yesterday recorded a second consecutive record daily number of new Covid infections at more than 88,000 but the government has so far …
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Britain’s vaccine chief has said that “at some point, society has to open up” and that the strategy of consistently trying to give booster shots to the entire population is “not sustainable”.

The chairman of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), professor Sir Andrew Pollard said that while the decisions on lockdown and vaccination policy are ultimately up to the politicians in Westminster, he shed doubt on enacting future booster campaigns.

“We can’t vaccinate the planet every four to six months. It’s not sustainable or affordable. In the future, we need to target the vulnerable,” Sir Andrew told The Telegraph.

The JCVI chief went on to suggest that it is too early for Britain to go down the route taken by countries such as Israel, which has already embarked on providing its elderly population with a fourth dose of the vaccine.

“We know that people have strong antibodies for a few months after their third vaccination, but more data are needed to assess whether, when and how often those who are vulnerable will need additional doses,” he said.

Professor Pollard also implied that the time for lifting restrictions is likely approaching in the UK, saying: “At some point, society has to open up. When we do open, there will be a period with a bump in infections, which is why winter is probably not the best time.

“But that’s a decision for the policymakers, not the scientists. Our approach has to switch, to rely on the vaccines and the boosters. The greatest risk is still the unvaccinated.”

Striking an optimistic tone, the head of the JCVI declared that “the worst is absolutely behind us. We just need to get through the winter.”

To date, over 90 per cent of the population of the UK over the age of 12 have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Nearly 83 per cent have had two doses of the jab and 59.8 per cent have come forward to take a booster shot.

Despite the high vaccination rate, the UK saw a record number of cases reported on Tuesday, with 218,724 cases being logged and nearly 1,270,000 cases being recorded over the past week.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson downplayed the idea of the record cases necessitating any further restrictions being imposed on England.

“I would say we have a good chance of getting through the Omicron wave without the need for further restrictions and without the need, certainly, for a lockdown,” Johnson said.

The Prime Minister said that because of the high vaccination rate and that the omicron variant appears to be a “milder” form of the Chinese virus, the country is seeing fewer serious infections.

Mr Johnson did caution, however, that it would be “profoundly wrong” that the fight against the virus is over and urged people to take the “utmost caution” and to come forward to take a booster shot.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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