An English expert who participated in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine warned that despite COVID vaccination efforts, novel COVID-19 variants will keep emerging, making it impossible to achieve herd immunity.
Guardian reported that Sir Andrew Pollard, professor at the University of Oxford, said on Tuesday (local time) at the House of Commons that new COVID-19 variants that are more transmissible than previous strains will emerge, and those who are vaccinated are not safe. “Even as the vaccination rates increase, herd immunity appears unlikely,” Professor Pollard said. He is among the top vaccine experts in the U.K., who contributed to clinical studies and development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, currently serving as the chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI).
He further stressed that vaccines alone cannot stop the pandemic, and it is important to focus on the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID-19, pointing out that building the healthcare system to provide effective care to COVID-19 patients is as important as preventing the infections through vaccinations. In fact, new research findings from Imperial College London suggested that infection rates for vaccinated individuals were only 49% lower than unvaccinated individuals.
As of Tuesday, 89% of UK adults received a first dose COVID-19 vaccines and 75% were double-jabbed. However, with 23,410 cases confirmed on Tuesday, the country is still reporting 20,000 to 30,000 cases every day. Britain also recorded another 143 deaths, the highest daily figure since March 12.
American researchers agree that the global spread of the Delta variant is getting the world further away from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is very alarming that the Delta variant is spreading quickly with other new variants. It is as if the dinosaurs are let loose in the park in the Jurassic Park,” said Dr. Benjamin Neuman, Texas A&M University’s virus expert, according to The Washington Post on Tuesday, worrying about future variants that could be even more virulent amid the continued upsurge in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
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