Wed. Dec 7th, 2022


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Scientists warn it could take a year to vaccinate entire UK population

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A leading scientist has said it could take almost a year to vaccinate the entire UK population against Covid-19.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of SAGE, said the coronavirus vaccine is a "remarkable" achievement but warned there was still a long way to go.

Writing in the journal Anaesthesia along with Professor Tim Cook, the scientists said the vaccination programme "should not be underestimated."

In living memory, "no country has mounted a whole population vaccination campaign" and it will "need to be undertaken with local leadership and cultural sensitivity," Sir Farrar and Prof Cook said.

Adding that it would take 80% of the population to be vaccinated for the "prospect of herd immunity."

Sir Jeremy and Prof Cook wrote: "The scale of the vaccination programme should not be underestimated: 1,000 vaccination centres each vaccinating 500 people a day for five days a week, without interruptions of supply or delivery, would take almost a year to provide two doses to the UK population.

"No country has mounted a whole population vaccination campaign in living memory and it will need to be undertaken with local leadership and cultural sensitivity."

The authors also said the early vaccine may not prevent people passing the virus on, and it could instead prevent serious illness of coronavirus taking hold.

"Vaccine success may be through stopping an infection becoming established in an individual (disease prevention); stopping progression to severe disease in infected individuals (disease attenuation); or preventing onward transfer of disease (sterilising immunity)," they said.

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Gathering data on the vaccine data could mean "improved second and third generation vaccines may be available later in 2021 and beyond."

Sir Farrar and Prof Cook said: "Whether all three of these goals will be met by 'first generation' vaccines is not known, but is vital to the long-term success of the programme.

"Sterilising immunity is particularly important as it is epidemic modifying.

"However, it may require nasally administered vaccines or adjuncts.

"From pre-clinical studies, it is possible that the first vaccines, likely to be released in late 2020, may be more effective in preventing disease progression and hospitalisation and less effective in preventing transmission."

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