Nadhim Zahawi becomes first Cabinet minister to back cutting self-isolation period to five days

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Meanwhile, the former head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said that mass vaccination should be ended after the current booster campaign because Covid is developing into an endemic virus similar to the flu. 

Dr Clive Dix, who stepped down from his role as chairman of the government body last year, claimed a significant overhaul of the country’s approach to the virus was required to prepare for the “new normality”.

He called on ministers to urgently throw their weight behind research into Covid immunity which extends beyond antibodies, such as B-cells and T-cells, which could be used to create vaccines for the vulnerable.

‘Mass population-based vaccination should now end’

“We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary,” he told The Observer. “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”

Dr Dix said he supported the current booster vaccine drive, but told the newspaper a “new targeted strategy” was needed to get the UK to a position of “managing Covid” as an endemic virus.

“Firstly we should consider when we stop testing and let individuals isolate when they are not well and return to work when they feel ready to do so. In the same way we do in a bad influenza season,” he said.

His intervention comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded that fourth doses were not currently required because more older people who had received boosters were still well-protected against omicron.

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