Scientists claim vaccines may not be needed in the future amid milder variants


Scientists have claimed that vaccines may be less and less needed in the future if milder variants of Covid act as a “natural vaccine”

A medic prepres a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus, to be used as a fourth shot, at the outpatient clinics of the cardiovascular centre at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2021. - Israel started giving fourth Covid vaccine shots today, to people with weakened immunity, becoming one of the first countries to do so, as cases surge driven by the Omicron variant. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Israel started giving people their fourth Covid jab on New Year’s Eve

Experts have warned that amidst milder and milder variants, vaccines might not be needed in the future.

After more and more reports reveal Omicron is milder than previous variants like Delta, experts have said that future variants could act as a “natural vaccine”.

This comes as Israel have announced intentions to begin offering a fourth jab to people, which acts as a second round of booster jabs.

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that after Omicron, future variants “may be even more mild”.

He argued this means they could act as a “natural vaccine” as lots of people would get infected without suffering severe illness or death.

A woman receives her fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the outpatient clinics of the cardiovascular centre at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv
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AFP via Getty Images)

This could mean the need for adults to get regular booster jabs could recede over time.

Other scientists have spoken out questioning whether the country will see regular Covid boosters.

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, said he “couldn’t see” ministers giving out boosters every few months.

He said: “Although after two-and-a-half months immunity starts to wane, that doesn’t mean it drops below being extremely effective.”

He added that the only way to measure the long-term effectiveness of the boosters was to wait and see.

Other epidemiologists have said that repeated outbreaks of Covid every year could mean boosters are needed every four to six months.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
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Press Association Images)

Early real-world analysis of the UK’s booster programme has shown that Pfizer’s top-up dose efficacy drops down as low as 35 per cent after two-and-a-half months.

This was among people who had already had a two doses of AstraZeneca.

But, amongst people who had two shots of Pfizer, and then a Moderna booster, efficacy remains stable around 70 per cent after the same period of time.

People who had had a third Pfizer, after two previous jabs, saw their protection drop to the 45 per cent region.

Some scientists have argued that milder and milder variants of Covid could eventually act as “natural vaccines”
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University of Oxford/AFP via Get)

Britain is considering fourth jabs but it would mean the NHS dishing out tens of millions of boosters roughly every 100 days.

Pfizer jabs cost around £20, meaning each annual vaccination drive would be in the region of £4billion.

However, two jabs still do drastically reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death, even against Omicron.

And a third booster only improves that protection.

There is concern as well about giving fourth jabs to people who already have considerable protection when outside richer economies much of the world is still waiting on first jabs.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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