A British scientist accused the Delta variant of the ineffectiveness of vaccinations against COVID-19.
The Delta variant makes collective immunity from COVID-19 “mythical,” said Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine Development Group. He also questioned the need for repeated vaccinations.
According to the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, achieving collective immunity is “impossible” with the current version of “Delta,” writes The Guardian.
Speaking to members of the British Parliament, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard said that the fact that vaccines have not stopped the spread of COVID-19 means reaching the threshold of general immunity among the population is “mythical.”
“The problem with this virus is that it is not measles. If 95% of people are vaccinated against measles, then the virus cannot be transmitted among the population,” Professor Pollard told members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus. – The Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. And this really means that anyone who has not yet been vaccinated will face the virus at some point … and we have nothing that would completely stop this transfer.”
Although existing vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness and death from the coronavirus, they do not stop a fully vaccinated person from contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.
The concept of collective or population immunity is based on the fact that the vast majority of the population acquires immunity – either through vaccination or as a result of a previous infection – which, in turn, provides indirect protection against infectious disease for the unvaccinated and those who have never been infected before.
Data from a recent React study conducted by Imperial College London shows that fully vaccinated people aged 18 to 64 have about a 49% lower infection risk than unvaccinated people. The results also showed that fully vaccinated people were about three times less likely to get a positive test result after contact with someone who had COVID (3.84%, compared to 7.23%).
About 75% of the adult population of the UK has already received both injections of the coronavirus vaccine.
British Health Minister Sajid Javid said he plans to start offering repeated COVID vaccinations to the most vulnerable groups in the UK as early as next month. He said that at the same time, a flu shot would be offered.
But Professor Pollard, who chairs the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), doubts that repeated vaccinations will be needed.
“The time in which we will need repeated vaccinations is if we see evidence of an increase in the number of hospitalizations – or the next stage after that when people will die – among those vaccinated. And this is not what we see now,” the expert said.
According to him, even if the levels of antibodies caused by the vaccine decrease, our immune system will probably remember the vaccination for decades and provide a certain degree of protection in case of exposure to the virus: “So, there is no reason to panic now. We don’t see a problem with a serious breakthrough.”
Whether children under the age of 16 should be vaccinated, as some countries have done, including the United States, Ireland, and Israel, has also caused scientific debate in the UK.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) recommended that only vulnerable children aged 12 to 15 years and those living with adults from at-risk groups should be vaccinated. Some critics have said that rich countries with high adult vaccination coverage, such as the UK, should not accumulate doses of drugs for children but should donate these doses to developing countries, many of which have barely vaccinated any population groups at highest risk.
But Professor Devi Sridhar, head of the Department of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, notes that the only vaccine approved for use in children aged 12 to 15 years in the UK was the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. “I think that, in fact, the real problem is not the vaccination of children, but what we are doing with repeated vaccinations, which are discussed in rich countries because these are doses that can be sent abroad,” she said.