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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: The current coronavirus vaccines in development will not end the pandemic, and governments should avoid eroding public trust by giving false hope, a key adviser to the UK government has warned.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, wrote in The Observer newspaper on Sunday that early vaccines are unlikely to offer total protection.
“The first vaccine may not be a silver bullet that sends us back to normal in a matter of months,” he warned.
“They may not be completely effective in all ages, or appropriate in all health systems. It’s very possible they may only provide immunity for a limited period, even as short as 12 to 18 months,” said Farrar, who is also director of health charity the Wellcome Trust.
“I am optimistic we will soon see results from the first vaccines coming through late-stage clinical trials. However, we must temper this optimism, talk of the perfect vaccine ‘just around the corner,’ or that it can be given to everyone immediately.”
He cautioned that setting expectations too high may lead to an eroding of public trust in future vaccines. “Already there are worrying signs of diminishing trust in potential Covid-19 vaccines,” he wrote.
“Trust is our most important tool in public health and we must do everything we can to avoid putting that in any doubt.” The urgency for a vaccine “must not mean compromising safety,” he added.
A growing body of evidence suggests that the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccination is likely to be temporary.
Last week, the lead scientist behind Oxford University’s vaccine development program warned that it would be “difficult” to establish for how long the vaccine will provide protection from infection, and what level of immunity it will offer.
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