'There will be people who'll need a fourth COVID jab' says JCVI expert

·Freelance Writer
·4 min read
People queue at a COVID Vaccination Centre at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, as the coronavirus booster vaccination programme continues across the UK. Despite the ramping-up of the booster programme, experts said it would not help in terms of hospitals admissions in the near future, as many would be people who are infected now before immunity has had time to build. Picture date: Monday December 20, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A fourth dose of the COVID vaccine may be needed, according to one expert. (Getty)

With the COVID booster programme ongoing, one expert has suggested that a fourth jab may be needed in the months ahead.

Government experts in Israel have already recommend a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine for all people over 60 and healthcare workers and similar measures could be implemented in the UK, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told LBC Radio: “I think there will be people probably who will receive a fourth jab – whether that will be everyone, I think, is still very much in doubt.

“We do need to see how things go through this wave and beyond.

“I think there may well be people who received their boosters early who are in the older more vulnerable age groups who may need a further jab – that has not been decided yet.

A Moderna booster coronavirus vaccine dose is drawn into a syringe at a Covid vaccination centre at Elland Road in Leeds, as the booster vaccination programme continues across the UK. Picture date: Tuesday December 21, 2021. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A Moderna booster coronavirus vaccine dose is drawn into a syringe at a COVID vaccination centre at Elland Road in Leeds. (Getty)

“It is still under review and discussion, and we will be providing recommendations on that at some point in the new year.”

The government has urged Brits to be boosted to help tackle rising COVID cases in the wake of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that “no country can boost its way out” of the pandemic.

Watch: Millions more antivirals secured to help fight Omicron

Director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu told a WHO press conference: “No country can boost its way out of the pandemic and boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to go ahead with planned celebrations, without the need for other precautions.”

His comments came as new figures showed that more than 30 million extra doses of COVID vaccine have now been given in the UK.

A record 968,665 booster and third doses were reported for the UK on Tuesday. The previous record was 940,606 doses on Saturday.

Figures showing booster doses of the COVID vaccine in the UK. (PA)
Figures showing booster doses of the COVID vaccine in the UK. (PA)

It means a total of 30.8 million booster and third doses have now been delivered, with 6.1 million in the past seven days, according to the figures which have been published by the UK’s four health agencies.

Meanwhile, the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in vulnerable primary school children.

The JCVI updated its advice after the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the jab for five to 11-year-olds following a robust review of safety data.

In response to Omicron, the committee has also advised that some older children be offered a booster dose.

Daily confirmed COVID cases in the UK over the past 12 months. (PA)
Daily confirmed COVID cases in the UK over the past 12 months. (PA)

It comes as two new studies have suggested catching Omicron is less likely to result in severe symptoms and hospital admission than earlier COVID strains like Delta.

New research from Imperial College London has indicated that people with PCR-confirmed Omicron are 15-20% less likely to need admission to hospital, and 40-45% less likely to require a stay of one night or more.

Scientists in a separate Scotland-wide study called Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of COVID have said Omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospital admission compared with Delta.

Boris Johnson has faced calls to outline his post-Christmas COVID strategy for England. (Getty)
Boris Johnson has faced calls to outline his post-Christmas COVID strategy for England. (Getty)

However, researchers have added that although Omicron appears less severe, it is more transmissible partly because the current crop of coronavirus vaccines are less effective against it.

The new data was released after Boris Johnson faced calls to outline his post-Christmas COVID strategy for England, as Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have all announced new restrictions to tackle Omicron.

Recorded case rates of COVID across the UK rose above 100,000 on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Watch: PM gives green light to Christmas but warns situation 'finely balanced'

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