Simon R Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology and head of the biomedical sciences and biomedical engineering division, told Express.co.uk he would be “very surprised if such a program started” before then. This despite people’s immunity to the coronavirus which appears to drop around 10 weeks after a booster is given.
Many people in the over 60 category will have received their booster shots before Christmas, which means they could have waited nine months or more for a fourth shot and the invaluable protection it offers.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Clarke said: ‘The important thing to remember here is that although immunity appears to start to wane after 10 weeks after the booster, it doesn’t is measured only by antibody levels, which are not always a good indicator of overall protection.
âThere is still a possibility that there is good protective immunity beyond those 10 weeks and we just don’t know how long that lasts, yet.
“I think more stimulus rounds are very likely at some point in 2022, but I would be very surprised if such a program started earlier than late summer / early fall.”
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Despite the rising numbers, Boris Johnson’s government has so far resisted calls from many medical professionals to put more restrictions in place.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the imposition of new restrictions was an “absolute last resort”.
He said: ‘Restrictions on our freedom must be an absolute last resort and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avoid them.
âSince I took on this post six months ago, I have also been keenly aware of the enormous health, social and economic costs of blockages.
“So I am determined that we have to give ourselves the best chance of living alongside the virus and avoiding strict measures in the future.”
But Matthew Taylor, executive director of the NHS Confederation, said the next few weeks would be “very difficult”.
He added: “I understand how much people want things to get back to normal and I have no doubts that as this year progresses we can do that.
âWe are all hoping that 2022 will be the year when the coronavirus simply becomes a disease that we live with, and not a disease that dominates our lives.
“But you can have the optimism as you recognize that the next few weeks are going to be very difficult, and we have to do whatever is necessary to get us through these next few weeks.”