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GPs could give annual Covid jab in the long term, suggests chief Government scientist

RSV vaccine

The long-term Covid vaccination strategy could likely be an annual vaccination similar to the flu programme, the Government’s chief scientific officer has suggested.

Speaking in yesterday’s Covid briefing, Sir Patrick Vallance also said only ‘some people’ may require top-up jabs once the disease loses its pandemic status.

Sir Patrick said that long term, it ‘isn’t tenable to say everyone’s going to need to be having another vaccine every three or six months’.

‘There will be some people who may require an additional dose but longer term, as this becomes a disease that is endemic, it will be something like an annual vaccine like flu or something of that order that this moves to,’ he said.

‘Exactly which vaccine that is we don’t know yet, that’s going to be something that people will work on over the next months and years to come as we think about long-term vaccine strategy.

‘[But] this will settle into a much more routine type of vaccine programme as we have for other infectious diseases.’

Sir Patrick was responding to a question regarding Professor Sir Andrew Pollard’s statement that giving regular top-up vaccines is ‘not sustainable’.

Earlier this week, The Telegraph quoted the JCVI chair as saying: ‘We can’t vaccinate the planet every four to six months. It’s not sustainable or affordable. In the future, we need to target the vulnerable.’

It comes as the Government has announced that it met its target for all eligible over-18s in England to be offered a Covid booster by 31 December, with more than three-quarters of eligible adults receiving their Covid booster jab before New Year’s Eve.

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