Covid: Fourth jab doses not sensible, says top vaccine scientist

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard warns that more evidence is needed before further Covid vaccination doses should be offered.

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Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, has said that a global rollout of a fourth Covid vaccine dose is not 'sensible'.

On whether people will need to be vaccinated every six months, Sir Andrew said: “Well, it’s just not – from a global perspective – affordable, sustainable or deliverable to give fourth doses to everyone on the planet every six months.

“Remember that, today, less than 10% of people in low-income countries have even had their first dose, so the whole idea of regular fourth doses globally is just not sensible.

“Now, it may be that, as the science evolves, that we can work out who the most vulnerable are in populations and target future boosters to those individuals to maintain their protection.

“But for the vast majority of people who are vaccinated, the risk now is extremely low of severe Covid, for those who have had three doses, and it’s likely that we’ll reach a point where we’re focusing those booster doses on those who most need them.

“And of course, at this moment, we don’t know what that looks like. Does that mean that we need updated vaccines each year like we do with flu? We need more data to make those decisions".

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told Sky News it is not yet certain that future variants of Covid-19 “will be causing mild disease”.

He said more time is needed to evaluate whether the virus will become milder, adding: “If indeed we do have ongoing problems with more severe disease, updated vaccines for the new variants may be one of the ways that we manage living with the virus in the future.”

Minister for vaccines and public health Maggie Throup told broadcasters that the Government’s Plan B “is working”.