UEA virus expert not supporting Covid jabs for under 16s

Covid vaccination

Prof Paul Hunter has said he would not have recommended jabs for under 16s. - Credit: Getty Images

An expert in infectious disease has said he does not believe another coronavirus lockdown will be needed - but is against jabs for children aged 12 to 15.

Prime minister Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday how the government intends to manage the pandemic over the winter with a number 10 spokesman having said lockdown would be "a last resort".

Mr Johnson is expected to confirm plans for vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large venues have been shelved.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19).

Prime minister Boris Johnson. - Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

The travel traffic lights system is also expected to be scrapped and PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Number 10 said another lockdown over winter would only be considered as a "last resort".

Prof Paul Hunter, from the UEA, has encouraged people to donate to the WHO's Covid-19 Response Fund

UEA expert Paul Hunter is not supporting vaccinations for under 16s. - Credit: UEA

And Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia's Medical School, said: "The bottom line is that I don't think we will end up needing another lockdown.

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"And I'm pleased vaccine passports look like being scrapped as I think they'd have been a waste of time anyway.

"If you've been double vaccinated, does that make you free of risk? No.

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"There's not many of us left to be infected who haven't got some resistance to the disease one way or another - whether through vaccination, having had coronavirus or through some of us potentially having some intrinsic resistance."

The government is expected on Tuesday to set out the plans for booster vaccinations, which are expected to be given to the most vulnerable people first.

The government had already said those who have severely weakened immune systems would get them, but details of which other groups will get them will be announced.

Prof Hunter said giving them to those with weakened immune systems was a "no-brainer" and that he would roll them out to over 80s, elderly people in care homes and the very obese.

But he said he would not offer them to everyone. He said those who had been given double jabs still had good protection against severe disease, so it was not necessary.

He was also dubious about vaccines for children aged 12 to 15.

The UK's four chief medical officers said, on Monday, children aged 12 to 15 should be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to reduce potential transmission in schools.

That was despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation deciding not to recommend mass vaccination of children of that age.

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