NHS chief says we need annual COVID jabs, but scientists disagree

Booster vaccines may be needed every year to increase immunity against COVID variants and the government has already started making headway with their autumn booster programme.

Booster Program
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Booster Program

We’ve been reminded, time and again, that COVID is here to stay and much like the flu, medical experts are predicting that we will need annual booster jabs to keep severe COVID infections at bay.

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In conversation with Times Radio, Chris Hopson—the chief executive of NHS Providers, said that getting vaccinated against COVID will become the new normal in the coming decade. He stated:

To be frank, we're probably going to need to do these vaccinations, probably on an annual basis for, I don't know, at least five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years.

Annual vaccination?

However, last month, Reuters reported that top scientists are still skeptical about whether the third shot is really necessary. In fact, more than a dozen scientists told the news agency that the first round of global vaccinations alone will provide longterm protection against even the most worrying variants. Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Reuters:

There is zero, and I mean zero, evidence to suggest that that is the case.
It's completely inappropriate to say that we're likely to need an annual booster, because we have no idea what the likelihood of that is.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), also spoke with Reuters about how vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna have been found to produce high levels of COVID-fightingantibodies. He added:

It's quite possible [that boosters would not be needed].
It is conceivable that the variants will not be as much a problem with a really good vaccine as we might have anticipated.

Booster programme

The verdict is still out on whether or not the public needs to get inoculated every year, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already announced his plans for the booster jab programme that is set to be implemented this autumn. The government is waiting on the results from the £19.3 million COV-Boost study which is trialling seven different vaccines for the third booster shot. Hancock explained:

We are currently trialling which combinations of jabs are the most effective.
In the next few weeks, when we get the clinical data through on what's the most effective combinations to have… then we'll set out all the details for the booster programme for the autumn.
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