TThe UK must quickly roll out a Covid vaccine booster and convince skeptics to take the blow if it’s to avoid a deadly fourth wave of the virus, an Israeli scientist has warned.
Eran Segal, professor of biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said his country saw the effectiveness of the Pfizer dual vaccine decline six months after the second vaccine was administered.
Last week, Israel became the first country to offer a third dose to people as young as 50 years old. It also has some of the highest immunization levels in the world, with around 80% of people aged 12 and over having received both vaccines.
Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Israel is responding with a vigorous program of recalls and I think our experience may have several implications for Britain and other countries.
“First, countries must redouble their efforts to persuade refused vaccinators to get vaccinated. Second, a policy of booster injections should be considered for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. It would be wise to act now to avoid a deadly wave in the UK.
Israel is now seeing infection rates climb rapidly to the peak they reached in January when they registered some 10,000 new cases a day.
More than 47 million people in Britain have now been vaccinated. The UK government has said it plans to give booster shots to the most vulnerable groups from September.
But World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the increase in Covid cases and hospital admissions are mostly in unvaccinated people and there is little evidence that booster injections are effective.
However, the United States presented plans to distribute additional doses to Americans eight months after their second jab against the delta variant.
Mr Segal added: “Just a few months ago, we were cautiously hoping that our strict vaccination policy would beat the virus.
“But now we are seeing that the combination of a highly transmissible variant, reduced vaccine efficacy and the 15% of vaccine-eligible people who remain unvaccinated has changed the course of the pandemic.
“What is certain is that Britain has a chance to learn from our mistakes and avoid the pain of a fourth wave. And the time may have come to launch a jab boost campaign. “