A leading expert said healthy young people in the UK may never get a Covid vaccine again, as the country is expected to hit a new wave of infections in the coming weeks.
Giving his personal opinion, Adam Fane, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Bristol and a member of the British Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, noted that there is no point in offering a fourth dose to those not past middle age, at least in the current landscape.
“I think it is doubtful that healthy young people will be offered a Covid vaccine other than the third dose — at least with the vaccines and variants we have now,” Finn said, though he added that both could change.
“You just don’t achieve anything very useful [further] Immunize healthy young people with these vaccines because they rarely get sick – which vaccines prevent,” he said, adding that the vaccines provide poor, short-term protection against mild infection and its subsequent transmission.
In March, the Minister of Health, Sajid Javid, proposed to expand the second booster program in the fall; Currently, the spring booster is only available to certain groups, including those over 75 and nursing home residents.
It has not yet been revealed which groups will be included in the broader rollout.
Another JCVI member told The Guardian that the assumption that younger, healthy people would not be given an extra dose was not unreasonable given the limitations of current vaccines and reduced disease severity in that group.
“The boosters are really about individual protection and future verification of the re-emergence of fall diseases, given the global vaccine supply,” they said.
Among those vaccinated, Finn said, the infection provided an antibody boost equivalent to another dose of the vaccine, and could theoretically provide broader protection for T cells against the coronavirus’s not elevated proteins.
“I wouldn’t advise people to seriously try to get infected, but if it does happen – and it will happen in many people – the compensation for any disease or inconvenience they encounter is that it should leave them in a good place in terms of immunity,” he said.
However, Professor Danny Altman, an immunologist at Imperial College London, cautioned that infection with the Omicron variant does not appear to produce a strong immune response, with many people infected repeatedly over periods of a few weeks.
Altman noted that infection can also lead to a prolonged risk of infection with the Covid virus, adding that despite the limitations of current vaccines, boosters still increase immunity and reduce exposure to serious infections and diseases, even in young people.
According to data released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Covid levels remain high in the UK, as they fall, with an estimated one in every 35 people in the community in England infected with Covid in the week ending April 30 – the lowest level since the beginning of the year. Approximately 1.8 million people in the UK have long-standing Covid disease, which is about 2.8% of the population.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said that while the immune response induced by the vaccine in young people was stronger than in older adults, it was controversial whether further booster vaccines were previously unnecessary.
“In the face of future variables of vaccine evasion and with continuing uncertainty about the long-term consequences of Covid infection, it will be important to monitor the duration of protection in [younger people]He added that although vaccination did not stop the transmission of infection completely, it did reduce the spread of the virus.
“The winter months are likely to be challenging with the new variants of Covid as well as other respiratory infections,” he added. While the priority is to keep the elderly and the clinically vulnerable, it would be dangerous to ignore it [younger, healthy people]. “
Two new forms of Omicron called BA.4 and BA.5 are already being closely monitored in the UK after an increase in cases in South Africa, where early data suggest they could have a growth advantage over BA.2 – the Omicron form that is dominant in the UK. United.
While UK infection numbers identified as BA.4 or BA.5 are low, some experts believe the UK is likely to see a new wave of Covid – despite its scale and potential impact, it remains unclear. This is, in part, because the UK has seen a larger BA.2 wave and has higher vaccination levels than South Africa, both of which may offer greater protection against infection with BA.4 and BA.5.