The four-monthly Covid vaccination booster programme cannot continue, Sir Patrick Vallance has warned – saying that the NHS is instead likely to move to an annual jab for those most at risk.
The Government’s chief scientific adviser said Britain needed to move to a “sensible annual cycle” of immunisation that ensures the most vulnerable are protected.
Speaking at the Science and Technology Select Committee, Sir Patrick said: “What isn’t credible is to start having vaccines every four months for everybody. That’s just not the way this works.
“What I think it will probably look like will be annual vaccines for a certain part of the population, as we have for flu.
“What we need to move to though is a better understanding of how to predict which vaccine is required each year. There are lots of possibilities. You could choose to go after the latest variant, you could choose to try and design a vaccine that fits somewhere in the middle and covers everybody.
“We have to move to a sensible annual cycle.”
‘Number of infections beginning to turn’
A fourth jab is due to be rolled out for over-75s, care home residents and the immunocompromised in the coming weeks. However, it is unclear whether younger, healthy people will still be offered Covid jabs next winter.
Currently, people offered the flu jab include the over-50s, people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, care home residents, carers, frontline health staff and those with housemates at risk of infection.