A British health expert has said booster jabs will help see coronavirus “fade into the background” and become endemic.
Booster shots involve injecting people with an additional shot of the original vaccine and are required because, after a while, levels of circulating antibodies – immune proteins that can bind to pathogens and block their ability to infect us – begin to wane, meaning immunity wears off.
Professor James Naismith of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and a biologist at Oxford University told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme that the third dose and vaccinating younger people is the key to seeing coronavirus fade from being a serious disease.
Prof Naismith said that resistance begins to wane at around six months and that while the elderly are most vulnerable to the virus, boosters “restore immunity to well above 95% effectiveness for serious disease”. He said:
It depends on how long vaccine immunity lasts… how many younger people get vaccinated, but I suspect it will fade back into the background as a serious disease.
My concern might be if the vaccine rollout is very slow in poorer countries… it may remain with them for much longer.
He added that he believes the country is over a spike in infections and that as this fall so too will hospitalisations and deaths, which currently stand at more than 1 000 a day and 1 000 a week respectively.