UK scientists look to half boosters to save vaccine for third world countries

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Aug 22, 2021, 04:10 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( AFP )

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Experts have claimed that this has been a common practice in the past for emergency situations during the time when vaccine supplies for ebola and polio were limited

As the World Health Organization (WHO) urges countries to not start booster vaccine campaigns yet, a group of scientists in the UK are experimenting if half a dose of the booster shot would be enough.

Some members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are experimenting on what is being dubbed as "fractional doses".

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The scientists are breaking down the quantity of booster shots in half with a hope that it can remove the hindrance of vaccine supply in the third world countries, while still protecting the vulnerable population against coronavirus in the UK.

Experts have claimed that this has been a common practice in the past for emergency situations during the time when vaccine supplies for ebola and polio were limited.

"The basic idea is to immunise more people with the same supply. The key question is whether for each individual, vaccine efficacy is reduced, and if so, by how much," David Hunter, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Oxford University was quoted saying by the Guardian.

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"It is plausible that booster shots could be given at a lower dose than first and second shots. Studies are under way for several Covid-19 vaccines to assess this. If a lower dose proves to only slightly diminish efficacy, then national regulators will need to consider the potential international benefits of increasing the number of shots available. It will be critical that this be done in a way that does not cause vaccine hesitancy due to a perception that the reduced dose shots are inferior," he added.

As of now, the JCVI is planning to start an immediate booster vaccine programme for all adults, starting with the people who are most vulnerable to the virus.

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