Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty Forewarns Covid Measures To Prolong For The Next Two Years.
Doctor Chris Whitty says a bank of vaccines are needed to work against coronavirus variants.
Coronavirus safety measures are likely to still be necessary for another two years, England’s chief medical officer has said. Professor Chris Whitty said it could take up to two years for the world to build up a bank of vaccines and technologies capable of rapidly dealing with COVID-19 variants and outbreaks.
While he said these tools will eventually “find a way through”, there still remains a level of risk that needs to be managed before then. Speaking during a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Thursday, Professor Whitty said a cautious approach will be needed for the next couple of years “because we’ve got such a difficult situation to go through at the moment”.
He added: “What we do not want to be is in a situation where we look back in six months and say ‘If we’d only just been a bit more cautious for a month or two we would’ve actually got through [ vaccinating] the whole population, we’d have understood a lot more, we’d know how to deal with this, we’d probably have a few variant vaccines on the stocks’.
Advertisement “I do not think though this should be seen as an indefinite posture, I think this is a matter of probably the next year or two whilst we understand how to do this and find a way of responding rapidly to variants.”
However, he said a “very wide portfolio of vaccines” is likely to be available in around two years, offering greater protection. “If we scroll forward two years, I think we’re going to have a very wide portfolio of vaccines,” Professor Whitty said. He added that technology can “turn around a vaccine to a new variant incredibly fast, compared to how historically we’ve been able to do it”.
“So I think technology will find a way through this in the long run, but we’ve got a period of risk between now and then,” he added. ‘Vaccine protection wall is leaky, not complete’ Professor Whitty said that while the R number (the rate at which the virus replicated) is less than 1, variants coming into the UK “do not have much of a foothold”, but he added that R is anticipated to rise above 1 as more things open up in the lockdown exit road map.
Politicians and experts have issued warnings to the public to stick to coronavirus rules, after the stay at home order was lifted in England on Monday and the “rule of six” came back into place for outside gatherings.