Expert warns Covid-19 could be around 'forever' and people will need 'regular vaccinations'

22 August 2020, 16:42

The expert warned Covid could get out of control again
The expert warned Covid could get out of control again. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

A member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has warned people are likely to need regular Covid-19 vaccinations as the disease will be present "forever".

Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser, said the pandemic would be controlled by "global vaccination" but that it is not "going to be a disease like smallpox which could be eradicated by vaccination".

He added: "This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations.

"So a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals."

He also warned it was possible that coronavirus could "get out of control again" but said more targeted measures could now be used instead of a generic lockdown.

Sir Mark said: "We know that less than one in five people around the country have been infected, so 80% of the population are still susceptible to this virus.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

"It is this terrible balance between trying to minimise the harm to people from the infection and protecting people, whilst keeping society going."

The Government said 41,423 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, an increase of 18 on the day before.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 57,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The Government also said that as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 1,288 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus. Overall, 324,601 cases have been confirmed.

‘This is for the greater good’: LBC speaks to woman taking part in covid-19 vaccine trial

A further six people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,496, NHS England said on Saturday.

The patients were aged between 79 and 93, and all had known underlying health conditions.

Another four deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.