Top doctors have pledged to shun any potential booster Covid vaccine they will receive amid a response that no reserve doses will be sent to poorer countries.
Third jabs are an important part of No10’s plan to avoid another crisis this winter and avoid another lockdown. Up to 32 million Britons over 50, NHS frontline workers and nursing home residents will be offered another shot in the run up to Christmas.
There is some evidence that immunity may wane over time, but experts have yet to decide whether there should be a wider rollout in the UK. However, Israel has already said that all people over the age of 12 can receive a third dose.
But ever since the idea of distributing supplemental vaccines was first touted, some experts have argued that additional shots might be better used by giving people in other countries a first dose.
Now some leading UK medics have stated that they will forgo getting a booster when offered.
dr. Jake Dunning, an infectious diseases researcher at the University of Oxford and the Royal Free Hospital, likened the rollout to giving people an extra life jacket “while ignoring those who don’t have life jackets at all.”
A Public Health England expert said they could not accept a booster shot “in good conscience”.
It comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved boosters for only those over 65 and those at high risk of developing a serious case of the virus.
NHS staff were among the first to receive booster doses last week. Pictured: Catherine Cargill receiving a third Covid shot at Croydon University Hospital in south London on Thursday
About 48.5 million over 16s (89.4 per cent) in the UK have received at least one Covid vaccine, while 44.4 million (81.7 per cent) have been double stung. But in some poorer countries, such as Haiti, data shows that only 0.1 percent have had a single dose
Dr Dunning told: The Telegraph he would not accept a third dose if offered one because there was little evidence of any benefit to young healthy people.
He said: ‘It’s like giving an extra lifejacket to people who already wear functioning (but not always perfect) lifejackets, just to be on the safe side, while ignoring people who don’t have any lifejackets at all.
“I just feel very uncomfortable accepting a booster myself and I hope to draw attention to the ongoing crisis of insufficient vaccinations in poorer countries.
12- to 15-year-olds get Covid vaccines in schools from TODAY as rollout expands for healthy children for the first time
Covid vaccines are being injected into healthy 12- to 15-year-olds in schools across the UK for the first time today.
A single dose of Pfizer’s shot is being used for children in this age group and it is hoped that the rollout will prevent further disruptions to their education.
Parental consent is sought, but kids can overrule parents who don’t want them to get the shot if they’re deemed “authorized,” in a move that has sparked controversy.
More than 3 million young people under the age of 16 are eligible for the vaccines and ministers expect at least 60 percent of the supply to take up.
The shots are being delivered today in some schools in England and the rollout will begin in Scotland and Wales later this week.
In Northern Ireland, the head of the region’s vaccination program said shots will likely be offered in schools from October.
The scientific community is divided on vaccinating healthy children against Covid because the virus poses such a low risk to them.
No10’s own advisory panel said earlier this month that immunizing them would provide only a ‘marginal’ benefit to their health, and not enough to advise a mass rollout.
But Chris Whitty and key medical officers in the decentralized countries favored the rollout after weighing the wider benefits for children.
They said hundreds of thousands of absenteeism could be prevented and school closures avoided if the vaccines were used properly.
‘There is evidence of a clinical need and likely benefit of a third booster dose for some individuals, such as older adults. However, for many others, we have no evidence that a third booster dose is needed or would benefit from it now or in the future.
“If there are others who are like me and act the same way, hopefully that will send a ‘not in my name’ signal to my own government and other rich countries.”
Ministers announced last week that they have adopted the JCVI panel’s advice to offer a third dose to 32 million over-50s, health professionals and vulnerable groups.
The decision came amid concerns about an expected fourth wave in the coming months and declining protection among the first groups to receive the vaccines.
Experts hope third doses will increase protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death in the winter, easing pressure on the health service.
The Pfizer shot — or half a dose of Moderna — is given six months after eligible individuals receive their second dose, regardless of which injection they received earlier.
But if a person is allergic to those vaccines, they are given AstraZenecas.
But Pouria Hadjibagheri, technical and development leader for Public Health England’s Covid dashboard, said he would not take a third dose.
He tweeted: “I don’t think I can accept one in good conscience either. However I look at it, I just can’t convince myself of it.’
and dr. Muge Cevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology at the University of St Andrews who is also a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), supported his position.
She said, “As a healthy person with double vaxx, I don’t think I can be more protected than I already am.”
About 48.5 million over 16s (89.4 per cent) in the UK have received at least one Covid vaccine, while 44.4 million (81.7 per cent) have been double stung.
But in some poorer countries, such as Haiti, official data suggests that only 0.1 percent have had a single dose.
Sir Andrew Pollard, chairman of the JCVI who helped develop AstraZeneca’s vaccine, has consistently advocated additional injections abroad.
He told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus last month that any decline in protection afforded by the vaccines would be “gradual” and quickly picked up through UK surveillance systems.
And the “top priority” for vaccines has been to give them to people “at high risk of dying from Covid, including older adults, people with health problems and health professionals, wherever they live,” he said.
Sir Pollard added: ‘Those with zero doses have a lot to gain from receiving a vaccine today and so should be ahead of those who are already two doses higher.’
Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, the chief scientist at the Oxford jab, said ‘we need to do better’ to get vaccines to other countries.
And Professor Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London and a member of SAGE’s immunology task force, said distributing vaccines fairly is the best approach because the fewer millions of lungs you have virus multiplying, the better off we are. all will be be’.
But the UK is not alone in its booster plans. Israel started giving extra shots months ago and France and Germany also continued to give boosters.
A government spokesman said: ‘We have committed to donate 100 million doses by June 2022 and have already delivered more than 9 million doses to developing countries in Africa and Asia.
“We will continue to work to ensure that any vaccine that the UK does not need is allocated to other countries that need it where possible.
“It is vital that everyone who is eligible for their booster shot gets them as soon as they are offered to ensure that all those most vulnerable to Covid receive the best possible protection as we move into the winter months.”
It’s because advisors to the US FDA recommended that people over the age of 65 people with certain underlying conditions and health professionals should get a booster shot.
But experts said the move was a “step back” from the widespread booster campaign initially proposed.
A White House spokesperson said boosters will be distributed once the FDA makes a decision on the third dose, which is expected this week.