Not everyone will need a Covid booster shot, says Oxford expert

covid-vaccine
Not Everyone Will Need A Covid Booster Shot, Says Oxford Expert
Professor Sarah Gilbert said the elderly and vulnerable may require another shot but ‘I don’t think we need to boost everybody’. Photo: PA Images.
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By David Hughes, PA Political Editor

A mass Covid-19 vaccine booster campaign may not be necessary, one of the leading figures in the development of the Oxford AstraZeneca jab said.

Professor Sarah Gilbert said immunity is “lasting well” for most people and suggested extra doses should be directed to countries with a low rate of vaccination.

Prof Gilbert told The Daily Telegraph that the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should be in line for a third jab but “I don’t think we need to boost everybody”.

Immunity is lasting well in the majority of people

“As the virus spreads between people, it mutates and adapts and evolves, like the Delta variant,” she said.

“With these outbreaks, we want to stop that as quickly as possible.

“We will look at each situation; the immunocompromised and elderly will receive boosters.

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“But I don’t think we need to boost everybody. Immunity is lasting well in the majority of people.”

Prof Gilbert has previously highlighted the wide disparity in vaccination rates between different countries, suggesting jabs should be sent to those areas where availability is low to vaccinate everybody once, rather than some people three times.

She told the Telegraph: “We need to get vaccines to countries where few of the population have been vaccinated so far.

“We have to do better in this regard. The first dose has the most impact.”

Expert opinion

UK health secretary Sajid Javid has said he expects a booster programme to start later in September in England but he is still awaiting advice from experts on the scale of any campaign to offer extra shots to people.

“I’m confident that our booster programme will start later this month but I’m still awaiting the final advice,” Mr Javid said.

The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is expected to give its advice on who should receive a booster shot within days.

It has already said a third dose should be offered to people with severely weakened immune systems.

The expert panel is looking at the latest data from the Cov-Boost trial run by the University Hospital Southampton.

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