The deadly effects of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak are intense to everyone but mostly hard-hitting on the vulnerable members of the community, and the UK has decided to protect these vulnerable groups by prioritizing them in the third covid-19 vaccine program. This vaccination phase is intended as a booster mechanism to strengthen the first and second jabs already handed out to the citizens. With the continuous rejuvenation of the virus, it seems like the global pandemic is becoming resistant to vaccines by modifying itself into diverse variants such as the Beta, Delta, and Lambda, so it becomes pertinent for vaccines’ manufacturers and developers to also improve the doses in-order to enhance their effectiveness.
The UK government plans on rolling out booster vaccines for Britons deemed to be highly exposed to the mass killing virus. A jubilant mood was witnessed after vaccines were initially approved and authorized for use because everyone was impatiently waiting for a cure and pinned their hopes on the vaccines. For a moment, the people thought they had won a war against covid, but the emergence of new variants made vaccines obsolete and forced scientists to upgrade their products once more. Most countries were disheartened when the virus seemed to overpower certain vaccines, and this happened after a lot of effort was exerted in the vaccination programs.
Currently, the Delta variant is running wild, enabling the surge of cases in most countries which include the United States of America, India, and Italy. The global crisis is still fully active, and people’s lives are at risk. Due to this, the British government has seen the need to jab the people to strengthen the immune system and enhance bodily defensive processes. This decision comes when the nation is heading into winter, with weather conditions favored by the virus, and many positive cases and deaths might be incurred if new variants pitch up.
Cold conditions have proven to be a breeding ground for the virus. The situation might worsen, especially after PM Boris Johnson removed the legal covid-19 restrictions and ushered his citizens back to normality. This was done under the new proposed ways of fighting the virus and at the same time ensuring the well-being of people’s health in relation to being locked indoors for long. But the health officials highlighted the importance of keeping the cases at a controllable number while urging people to be cautious all the time. Booster vaccines are expected to be given to vulnerable groups in September [Source], and the Joint Committee advised the government officials on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
According to the JCVI interim advice [Source], it is necessary to enhance the first and second in those individuals prone to attacks so that the protection can be prolonged ahead of the winter months. This program will be carried out alongside the annual flu vaccination, and more details on the execution of these plans will be announced in due course. A final draft of the advice is expected to be published before September. It will highlight the epidemiological situation, reveal gathered scientific information from health trials such as Cov-Boost [Source] while alluding to the effectiveness of vaccines against new variants witnessed across the globe.
Talks are ongoing between the government and the NHS in planning to quickly disperse the vaccines if they decide to undertake the program. The Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said, “The phenomenal vaccine rollout has already saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented millions of infections, helping to wrestle back control of the pandemic and ease lockdown restrictions so we can return to normal as soon as possible.” Secretary Javid showed his appreciation to the JCVI’s advice “which will help” them in ensuring that they are prepared adequately for autumn and await the final advice.
He further explained that “We need to learn to live with this virus. Our first COVID-19 vaccination program is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster program will protect this freedom. We are working with the NHS to make sure we can rapidly deliver this program to maintain protection for people in the winter months”. Embedded in the vision of booster vaccines, it making sure vulnerable people do not get ill over a winter period. Scientific research in the country depicted how the majority of vaccinated persons are strongly protected against severe diseases at least in the next 6 months [Source].
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi commented on the vaccination program’s progress in the country and said, “Our COVID-19 vaccination program has been a roaring success, with almost 85% of adults across the UK receiving a first dose and more than 62% getting both doses.”In relation to booster vaccines, he noted, “We are now planning to future-proof this progress and protect our most vulnerable from variants and flu ahead of the winter.”The minister believes that “vaccines are the best way to stay on top of this virus,” and he urged “everybody to take up the offer as soon as possible.”
According to the JCVI’s interim advice [Source], booster jabs will be distributed in two stages to different groups of people who meet the criterion set. Stage 1 denotes members of society who are to receive both the boost and influenza vaccine from September. They need to be: young people aged 16 and over who are immunosuppressed, persons residing in care homes for senior citizens and older adults, all members aged 70 or over, people aged 16 and above clinically deemed extremely vulnerable, and all frontline workers together with social care workers.
Stage 2 entails people being vaccinated immediately after the completion of stage 1 and immunized against flu. This incorporates adults who are 50 years and over, persons aged 16 to 49 befitting influenza or covid-19 at-risk groups, and all adult household contacts of immunosuppressed members. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, contended that “Where the UK has reached so far on vaccination is truly fantastic. But we need to keep going and finish giving second doses to those remaining adults who have not had them; this is the best thing we can do to prevent the disease from making a comeback which disrupts society later in the year.”
Professor Van-Tam alluded to how controlling the spread and effects of covid without restrictions depends on the success of the vaccination program. It needs urgent attention since other respiratory diseases like the flu will add more problems to them.
Placing importance on the public’s well-being, especially the vulnerable members, is the primary duty of any responsible government. Hence the British government should be commended for its efforts amid a global crisis.