Covid-19 vaccine boosters: is a third dose really needed?

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Covid-19 vaccine boosters: is a third dose really needed?

Evidence suggests it would be far better to send the doses to poor countries, where vaccine coverage is low

Sheena Cruickshank

The UK is enjoying real success with its Covid-19 vaccine coverage. About 85% of adults (44,8 million people) have received one dose and 63% (33 million people) both jabs, with about 160,000 doses a day still being administered (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55274833).

Vaccination with two doses helps prevent infection and in those that do still get infected, lessens the impact (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33964222/) of the virus by reducing disease severity, transmission of infection and death.

Even so, plans to give people a third shot have been unveiled (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022/jcvi-interim-advice-potential-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-winter-2021-to-2022#fnref:1) by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The main arguments to support giving a third dose are that the effectiveness of the first two jabs falls over time and that there’s a need to take new vaccines to deal with viral variants, such as the Delta variant. But what does the evidence say?..

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