COVID-19 vaccines are protecting us, and we will need to continue vaccinating to keep that protection, says Imperial expert.
Writing in The Sun today, Professor Azeem Majeed, Head of Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial, warns: “If people don’t get their boosters, they increase their risk of catching COVID-19 and having a more serious illness. This will lead to more cases of COVID-19 and increased pressures on the NHS this winter. The number of deaths from COVID -19 will also increase. This may require the Government to bring back some COVID-19 restrictions — and if the situation gets very bad, it may require a further lockdown.”
"By getting a booster, you are protecting yourself and those you live and work with. You are also reducing the need for the Government to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions this winter.” Professor Azeem Majeed Head of Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial
He adds: “Research from other countries shows that a third, booster dose of a vaccine further improves your immunity and reduces your risk of a serious illness that may lead to hospitalisation or death.”
Discussing the progress and priorities of the current booster programme Professor Majeed explains: “The rollout of the NHS booster programme has been slower than we would have liked. We want as many people as possible to receive boosters before the onset of winter, when pressure on the NHS increases.”
He says: “We will all be offered a booster eventually. But right now the people being targeted are those at highest risk of serious illness and death from a COVID-19 infection. This includes people aged 50 and over and people under 50 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk, NHS staff and people who live and work in care homes. People who are the main carer of someone at high risk are also being invited for boosters. They should take them as soon as they are offered.”
Six million people are currently eligible for a booster vaccine and 4.2 million have been invited, according to NHS England. Comparing England’s initial vaccine rollout and the booster rollout, Professor Majeed notes: “At the peak of England’s COVID vaccination rollout, more than 500,000 jabs were being given each day. But there were just 99,000 booster shots reported on Monday in England.”
“We all want a more normal way of life and don’t wish to see a repeat of last year, when Christmas gatherings were not possible because of the rules in place at the time.” He argues.
Professor Majeed calls on people to take up their vaccine as soon as they are offered it, saying: “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and very effective. By getting a booster, you are protecting yourself and those you live and work with. You are also reducing the need for the Government to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions this winter. So please go out and get your booster vaccine as soon as you can.”
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