COVID-19: Worst Of Pandemic Is “Absolutely Behind Us” Says Oxford / AstraZeneca Vaccine Scientist | UK News

A leading vaccine scientist and the driving force behind the Oxford / AstraZeneca coup has said the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us – even as the Omicron variant continues to ravage the UK .

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine trials and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, helped develop the AstraZeneca vaccine in 2020.

Speaking a year after AstraZeneca was first administered to a member of the public, Prof Pollard told The Telegraph: “The worst is absolutely behind us. We just have to get through winter.”

Asked about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s current handling of the crisis, with his relatively light restrictions across England, Prof Pollard said: “(It) seems to be working so far. The system is not breaking down But it is finely balanced.

“We can’t fully answer if he’s right for a while.”

Picture:
Brian Pinker was the first person to receive the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab on January 4, 2021

In the 12 months following the injection of AstraZeneca to Brian Pinker, 82, a dialysis patient at Churchill Hospital in Oxford, 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 over 80% received two doses, while 33 million booster shots were given.

But Professor Pollard warned that giving people boosters every six months was “not sustainable” and that a fourth shot should not be offered until there is more evidence.

He said there was no point in trying to stop all infections and that “at some point the company has to open up”, despite the continued threat from Omicron.

“At some point, society has to open up. When we open, there will be a period with an increase in infections, which is why winter is probably not the best time. But it’s a decision. for policy makers, not scientists, he told The Telegraph.

“Our approach must change, relying on vaccines and boosters. The biggest risk remains the unvaccinated.”

His comments come as Confederation NHS chief executive Matthew Taylor has warned it is still too early to know about Omicron’s trend.

In a blog post, he said: “While the data around Omicron looks positive, it is not yet reliable and will not be until the end of this seasonal period.”

He added: “It was only five weeks since we first heard of this new variant, and it is only now starting to affect older and more vulnerable people. Uncertainty abounds. For example, for As far as I know, we have absolutely no idea whether Omicron is more or less likely than previous variants to add to the large number of people facing Long covid. “

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“Absolute madness” to say the pandemic is over

Sunday, Prime Minister warned it would be “absolute folly” to say the pandemic is over – but said the Omicron “is obviously smoother” than the other variants.

Despite a huge increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, Mr Johnson said the UK was in a better position than most other countries because of the “very, very high level of vaccination”.

However, he said, despite the fact that Omicron is “clearly softer” than the other variants, the NHS is under pressure because of its high transmissibility – and the public must do everything in their power. to help relieve this pressure by following the steps in Plan B.

Plan B measures should be reviewed when MPs return to Parliament on Wednesday.

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