BRITS who expect to receive a third dose of their coronavirus vaccine this winter have been warned that it “may not be possible” for everyone to get an additional booster dose.
An expert said today that the process of giving extra hits will not be straightforward.
🔵 Read the live coronavirus blog for the latest updates
Professor Adam Finn of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) also noted that, in fact, an additional dose may not be needed.
So far in the UK, more than 43.6 million Britons have received the first dose of the vaccine and 31.9 have received two doses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said plans for additional injections will be announced within weeks, and data on the potential of the booster vaccines will be available in the coming days.
But Professor Finn said there was still a “high level of uncertainty” about the need for booster vaccines this fall.
Speaking to Sky News, he said that booster doses may be needed to avoid the increased winter risks, but added that it was not clear if everyone would need them.
He said, “We will learn as we go on.
“It wouldn’t really be possible for us to go and do everyone at once – as we’ve seen before, it took over six months to make its way through the population.
“And while the vaccine supply will increase, going and re-vaccinating everyone is an intense exercise, and that might not make that necessary, so we’ll see what happens.”
Prof Finn explained that if booster doses are published, they should be given to people who received their first vaccine long ago and to those at risk of developing serious illness if they become infected.
This includes the very elderly and possibly health care workers, who received vaccinations earlier in the year.
“So I don’t think that’s for sure yet, but I think there’s a high probability that at least one batch will be needed this winter,” he added.
NHS providers have warned that the service will need time to prepare for the publication of recall offers,
Earlier this week, Chris Hobson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the strikes should be “business as usual” and not an emergency response.
He told Radio Times: “There are a bunch of questions that really need to be answered in terms of anticipating the next phase.”
They include: how long the protection lasts, whether people can “mix and match” the vaccines they have received, and how the new vaccines will be incorporated into the list of vaccines.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a vaccine has been hailed as the answer, and Professor Finn said it is important in making sure people do not become seriously ill with the virus.
Infections in the UK have increased in recent weeks, but hospital admissions and deaths have remained at low levels.
Many events began to unfold again and people began to mingle again in social contexts.
When asked if he agreed with former Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, who said that people who have been vaccinated twice should continue to be vigilant, Professor Finn replied: “Yes. Vaccines are very important for this purpose, they certainly reduce the risk of infection and transmission, but it does not eliminate it completely.
“The safety of putting vaccinated people together is greater than that of unvaccinated people, but if there are a lot of viruses circulating, there will always be infections.”
Many government-run testing events require either proof of double vaccination or a negative test 24 hours before the event.