5 years before vaccine can hold line against Covid variants

Covid vaccinee Petra Moinar prepares syringes with the AstraZeneca vaccine before it is administered on March 8, 2021 at the Battersea Arts Center in London, England.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – England’s chief medical officer has warned that the coming winter will continue to be difficult for the country’s health system despite the country’s successful coronavirus vaccination program.

Another relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England was delayed this week due to a surge in cases of the Delta variant, first discovered in India.

In a speech to the NHS Confederation on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the current wave of Covid infections due to the Delta variant is likely to be followed by another surge in winter.

He said that Covid-19 “hasn’t thrown its final surprise on us and there will be a few more”. [variants] in the next period “, according to Sky News. He added that it would likely take five years to have vaccines that could highly “hold the line” against a number of coronavirus variants.

And until then, he said new vaccination programs and booster vaccinations were needed.

In the UK, where the Delta variant is now responsible for the majority of new infections, cases have increased in young people and unvaccinated people, leading to an increase in hospital admissions in these cohorts.

There is hope that Covid-19 vaccination programs can stop the spread of the Delta variant, and so the race to protect younger people who may not be fully vaccinated is on.

An analysis by Public Health England published Monday showed that two doses of the PfizerBioNTech or OxfordAstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospital stays from the Delta variant.

However, some vaccines are reported to be less effective against other strains. For example, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this month that it has entered into commercial negotiations with AstraZeneca to obtain a variant of the vaccine that has been adapted to combat the variant first discovered in South Africa.

Trials of booster vaccinations are underway in the UK, and it is reported that the population will have a third vaccination before winter this year.

Over 42 million people in the UK have received a first dose of a vaccine – that’s around 80% of the adult population – and over 30 million people have received their second dose.

– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this article.

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