One of the UK’s leading vaccine scientists and the driving force behind AstraZeneca says the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us.
Professor at Oxford University, lead investigator of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine studies and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Sir Andrew Pollard helped develop the AstraZeneca jab in 2020.
Speak with The telegraph A year after AstraZeneca was first administered to a member of the public, Prof. Pollard was optimistic – even if the Omicron variant continues to devastate the UK.
“The worst is absolutely behind us. We just have to get through the winter, ”he told the newspaper.
Regarding Boris Johnson’s current handling of the crisis, with its relatively mild restrictions across England, Prof. Pollard said: “(It) seems to be working so far. The system does not tip over, but it is finely balanced.
“We can’t answer for a long time whether he’s right.”
In the 12 months since AstraZeneca was injected to Brian Pinker, 82, a dialysis patient, nine billion doses of Covid, including AstraZeneca, have been administered worldwide.
In the UK alone, 90% of those over 12 received their first vaccine and more than 80% two doses, while 33 million booster vaccinations were given.
According to Prof. Pollard, vaccine scientists and investigators were told it would be two years before the vaccine could be launched when the Oxford / AZ studies first began in April 2020.
With so much of the UK and other richer nations now vaccinated, Prof. Pollard has added his voice to calls to “open up” despite the ongoing threat from Omicron, which recent UK studies suggest is milder than Delta.
Pollard told The Telegraph, “At some point society has to open up. When we open there will be a time when infections will rise so winter probably isn’t the best time to go. But that is a decision made by policymakers, not scientists.
“Our approach has to change to rely on the vaccines and the boosters. The greatest risk is still the unvaccinated. “
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