The expert, whose modeling helped create the first coronavirus lockdown, says he would advocate the introduction of booster vaccinations for “younger age groups” once the most at risk have been given a booster shot to slow transmission.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said modeling from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine had shown that extending the booster fitness could help “reduce transmission to low levels “.
He said data suggest a third vaccination offers significant protection against even mild illness and sees “no reason” why younger age groups should not be offered boosters after priority groups.
Prof. Ferguson – referred to as “Professor Lockdown” in some sections of the media – is hoping the immunity levels mean the UK can “avoid” a return to social distancing restrictions this winter.
He added, “I think we are unlikely to get anywhere near what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.
“We may see slow climbs like in October, but not as fast as last year.
“We can’t be complacent, but at the moment I don’t think the Netherlands will get into a situation where they really have to deal with the rising case numbers through social distancing.
“I very much hope that we can avoid that in this country.”
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests infection rates continue to decline across the UK.
The figures show that around one in 60 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week leading up to November 6, up from one in 50 the previous week.
In Wales, it is estimated that around one in 45 people contracted the virus in the week leading up to November 6, up from one in 40 the week before.
In Northern Ireland the number is around one in 75 people, up from one in 65 the previous week, while in Scotland it’s one in 85 – up from one in 80.