People should be “very concerned” about the spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus but “reassured” by the scale of the vaccine adoption, an expert said.
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said the variant was “significantly more transmissible” – but a double dose of the Covid vaccine would protect against serious illness.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We need to be reassured that we are in a very different position now that we have a highly vaccinated population and we just have to keep moving at speed.”
“We know that with this particular variant you need two doses to provide complete protection, so we are very, very careful to ensure that everyone, especially groups at higher risk, those over 50 and those with underlying conditions are get their second vaccination as soon as possible. ”
He said people were “very surprised” at how “amazingly effective” Covid vaccines were in preventing serious diseases, but stressed the need to “look very carefully” into what would happen to the Indian variant in the next one or two happened two weeks.
He added, “I think we need to look at this data very carefully before we can completely unblock it.”
Prof. Harnden suggested it was “better” to be on the “cautious side”, adding, “Even if we lift the lock, you will have to carry if you are in a vulnerable position, especially if you are not have been vaccinated to be careful even if the June 21st date is about to go.
“I think we are all used to living within boundaries right now and I think it’s not all or nothing. I think it will be a gradual process, even with the June 21st date ahead of us lies.”