Britons Willing To Have Booster Jabs
The overwhelming majority of Britons would accept a winter booster jab to help improve their immunity, a new survey by the Office for National Statistics has revealed.
A survey of people who had been fully vaccinated revealed that 94 per cent would be either very likely or fairly likely to have a booster vaccine. Only two per cent said they every fairly or very unlikely to do so.
Of the group unwilling to have the third jab, more than half thought the first two jabs would be enough to protect them. Around 37 per cent said they did not think a third jab would offer any extra protection and 36 per cent said they had concerns about the long-term impact on their health.
These findings come at a time when questions have been raised about the possible waning of immunity against the virus, not least the now-dominant Delta variant.
According to the Zoe Covid Study, the level of protection against the variant has waned somewhat. In the case of the Pfizer jab it drops from 88 per cent after the second dose to 74 per cent after five or six months. For the AstraZeneca vaccine the equivalent figures are 77 per cent after the second jab and 67 per cent after four or five months.
Figures for the Moderna vaccine are not yet available, as this was not added to the UK rollout until April.
The lead scientist in the study Professor Phil Spector said the “reasonable worst-case scenario” was that by the winter the level of protection could fall below 50 per cent for those who were in the first wave of vaccinations that began in December last year.
“With high levels of infection in the UK, driven by loosened social restrictions and a highly transmissible variant, this scenario could mean increased hospitalisations and deaths,” he noted.
This would suggest the UK government should direct its pharmaceutical distribution strategy towards ensuring booster jabs start to be rolled out in the later months of this year.
Professor Spector argued that the government should “urgently” start planning a booster campaign and carefully decide whether any plans to give the vaccines to children are “sensible” in such circumstances. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is considering whether 12-15 year olds should be jabbed next, something some other countries have already begun to do.
However, not everyone is keen on the idea of the UK and other western nations with large supplies of vaccines giving priorities to booster jabs. Others, such as the World Health Organisation, argue that the emphasis should be on increasing the levels of vaccination in developing countries to increase immunity there and help prevent more variants arising.
The UK has now started a programme of mass-distribution of vaccines around the world, with an announcement at the end of last month of a consignment of nine million vaccines to be sent overseas. This included Indonesia, Jamaica and Kenya. The UK has committed itself to provide 100 million in total to other countries, 80 million of them through Covax.
Announcing the distribution, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: “We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe. “