Booster vaccines may not be necessary for everyone in Britain and rolling out third doses too quickly would be an “unnecessary burden” on the NHS, the AstraZeneca chief said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph alongside the company’s executive vice president of biopharmaceutical R&D, Sir Mene Pangalos, and AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, called on the government to be patient.
They stressed that the UK was “within weeks” of a definitive answer on the effectiveness of two doses in providing “continuous protective immunity”.
They said, “To move too quickly to expand the entire adult population will deprive us of this information, leaving this important decision to be based on limited data.
“A third dose for everyone may be needed, but maybe not. Mobilizing the NHS for an unnecessary building program would potentially add unnecessary burden to the NHS during the long winter months.
“Because NHS staff and resources are scarce, another national mobilization would potentially leave us with fewer resources for cancer screenings and other care provided by doctors and nurses each day. ”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi recently told MPs that a vaccine booster program was “ready to go” as soon as the scientific advice for the program was approved.
What is the Covid Booster Vaccination Program?
More than half a million people with severely weakened immune systems who are most at risk of Covid will be offered another dose of vaccine starting this month, following a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Immunization and immunization (JCVI).
However, this announcement is separate from any decision on a recall program, with news on this expected soon.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers of Health are also currently reviewing the broader benefits of immunizing 12-15 year olds after the JCVI declined to recommend widespread deployment in the age group on health grounds alone.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 668 deaths recorded in the week ending August 27 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate. This is the highest number since 719 deaths were recorded in the week to March 26.