The UK is considering rolling out a fourth COVID-19 vaccine in order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, according to a new report.
There’s been a total of 11.6 million confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with new daily cases exceeding 100,000 as of yesterday, December 22.
People up and down the country have been receiving their third dose, known as a booster, in recent days in the lead up to Christmas, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hoping to provide a jab to everyone before the end of the year. However, a fourth dose could be on the horizon to keep numbers as low as possible.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is said to be considering a fourth vaccine being extended to the elderly and vulnerable, rather than just those with weakened immune systems. If it is made available, it would come four months after the third jab and will be ready in 2022.
‘We need to see more data. We are in different circumstances to Israel and we need to see more data on waning immunity and vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation,’ Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, told The Telegraph.
It comes after Israel announced it would provide a fourth vaccine to those over the age of 60. ‘This is wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world,’ Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, as per Sky News. It also expanded its travel ban to include the US, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Canada.
‘We are seeing waning immunity, reflected in the reduction of antibodies and also in breakthrough infections, in people that got the third dose,’ Professor Nadav Davidovitch, director of the School of Public Health at Ben Gurion University in Israel and a member of the Pandemic Expert Committee, said.
‘It’s a bit similar to the situation with the second dose several months ago. Due to this, some of us thought that those who are more than four months after their third dose ought to be vaccinated.’
Israel will also share its data on fourth doses with the UK. Meanwhile, Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach has backed calls for a fourth vaccine, with the country ordering millions of new doses to fight the spread of Omicron.
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