British researchers point out that it is becoming increasingly clear that vaccine protection against Covid-19 wears off over time, so a booster dose is necessary. The former Deputy Minister of Vaccination revealed that the government plans to administer it every year.
“We don’t know how long the vaccine lasts until we have had time to notice a drop in immunity, but I think it’s become clear recently that these vaccines don’t seem to last forever – they provide a lot of protection,” he said Monday in an interview with a Radio Times professor. Peter Openshaw of Imperial College London, chair of NERVTAG, the new respiratory virus advisory group.
On Sunday, it was reported that the number of third doses given to the vaccine exceeded 10 million in the UK. Currently, they are receiving an average of 300,000 people a day, but as the Daily Mail reported on Monday, the pace is not enough to meet the goal of giving a third dose to all 32 million eligible people before Christmas. On the current average, 10 million people will remain unvaccinated by then.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called for booster doses. “Unfortunately, we are currently facing a situation where too many elderly people are hospitalized as a result of twice the first two doses. Vaccination is the most important thing we can do for our country today if we want to protect the NHS (PAP), if we want to end this virus” – Johnson said during A visit to a hospital in Hexham in the North East of England.
Meanwhile, Nadim al-Zahawi, the former deputy health minister in charge of the immunization program and now education minister, revealed to The Sun that the government plans to give annual booster doses. “Ultimately, our plan is that we hope to be the first major economy to transition from a pandemic to an endemic state and have an annual vaccination program,” he said.
Currently, people over 50 years of age are eligible for the third dose, people under that age who are either at particular risk of getting sick due to other medical conditions or living with such people, and health and social workers on the front lines. That’s a total of about 32 million people, with the third dose given at least six months after the second, so a significant proportion of these people do not yet qualify.
From London Bartłomiej Niedziński
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