The UK’s vaccine advisory panel said on Friday there was ‘no immediate need’ for a second incentive shot for elderly vulnerable groups, citing new evidence that vaccine protection against serious diseases of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been sustained for at least three months.
Early data from the UK Health Security Agency, Released Friday, showed that although the efficacy of the vaccine against symptomatic infection by Omicron drops from about 70 percent for those over 65 two to four weeks after the injection was given to only 30 percent three months later, the efficacy against serious diseases remained stable at about 90 percent. sent.
“Current data show that the booster dose continues to provide high levels of protection against serious diseases, even for the most vulnerable older age groups,” said Prof Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization. “For this reason, the committee has concluded that it is not immediately necessary to institute a second booster dose, although it will still be reviewed.”
This week Israel became the first country to offer a fourth dose of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine to a wide section of the population, rolling out the sting to the over 60s, medical workers and people with weakened immune systems amid rising numbers of cases due to Omicron.
A study of 150 Israeli health workers found a fivefold jump in antibodies to a fourth sting.
About 500,000 people with immunosuppression in the UK have been eligible for a fourth dose since the end of November three months after their third sample.
The European Medicines Agency announced late last year that it was reviewing whether fourth doses were needed for a subset of at-risk populations, such as those who are immunosuppressed.
The UK has nearly 150 million additional vaccines in order from Pfizer and Moderna, the current hubs of its reinforcement deployment, which will arrive throughout 2022 and 2023.
More than 35m third doses has been administered across the UK since the incitement began in September, but despite high vaccination coverage, Omicron has raised infection rates to record highs, with one in 15 people in England infected with Covid-19 in the week ending December 31, according to the Office of National Statistics.
This week, Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group that created the Oxford / AstraZeneca stimulus, raised doubts about the need for long-term boosters.
“It really is not affordable, sustainable or probably even necessary to vaccinate everyone on the planet every four to six months,” Pollard said in an interview with the BBC. Today program.
“We have not even managed to vaccinate everyone in Africa with one dose, so we are definitely not going to get to a point where fourth doses are manageable for everyone.”
“We may need boosters for the vulnerable in the population, but I think it is highly unlikely that we will have regular programs going forward to boost everyone over the age of 12,” he added.