‘Not sustainable!’ Head of Britain’s vaccine body warns against fourth booster shot

Coronavirus patient urges people to get the vaccine in July

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Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said giving boosters to people every six months was “not sustainable”. He said governments “need to target the vulnerable” in the future, rather than giving boosters to all over-12s.

Sir Andrew said there was no point in trying to stop all infections, and “at some point, society has to open up”.

He also suggested “misinformation” about the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine – espoused by European leaders including Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, and Angela Merkel, former leader of Germany – was “highly likely” to have cost lives in Africa.

His comments come at a time when the UK continues to battle with a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 infections.

A total of 157,758 new COVID-19 infections were reported in England and Scotland on Thursday.

The number of cases were up by almost 50 percent in the week from December 28 and January 3, compared with the week before.

Sir Andrew cautioned against blindly following Israel and Germany, which have given the green light to a second set of boosters to all over-60s.

He said: “The future must be focusing on the vulnerable and making boosters or treatments available to them to protect them.

“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.”

Vaccines can rapidly be adapted to fight new variants, but he argued: “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.”

His comments come as England and Wales go back to work after the festive break and schools begin to return, amid concerns they could be shut down by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Ministers will meet to finalise plans to keep the economy, hospitals and schools running by fast-tracking tests for up to 10 million “critical” workers through their employers.

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Up to 50 percent of staff in some frontline services, including care homes and the police, have been forced off work as they are isolating after testing positive for Covid.

The shortages have been worsened by problems accessing lateral flow tests or getting PCR results, delaying people’s return to work.

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