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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Vaccinations will reduce the impact of COVID-19 from grave illness to mere “sniffles,” according to an Oxford Vaccine Group expert.
Prof. Andrew Pollard told British MPs that he believes the recently introduced vaccines will “have a huge impact on transmission.”
Fears have risen in recent days that new variants of COVID-19 might be vaccine resistant, but he played down these concerns, saying this might not be an issue if the vaccines protect against serious illness.
Pollard, who studies new and improved vaccines, delivered his comments as ministers look to boost confidence in the Oxford-AstraZeneca inoculation, which the UK is set to rely on, after a study in South Africa found that it appeared to have little effect in preventing mild illness caused by one of the major variants.
“The virus will only survive if it is able to make new versions of itself that can still spread despite that immunity,” he said.
“In the trials in those regions where new variants are emerging, we are not seeing a sudden shift where lots of people who are vaccinated are ending up in hospital.”
Pollard warned that “we might need boosters every year” if new trials of vaccines continue this trend, but he said we “might be generating enough immunity with the current generation of vaccines to stop severe disease.” He added: “If people have just got the sniffles, then I think our job is done.”
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