Prof Sheena Cruickshank requires the growth of this autumn’s Covid-19 vaccine booster programme (Why aren’t all of us being supplied an autumn Covid booster? We will’t let value stop us conserving Britain wholesome, 8 September). Nevertheless, growing the variety of folks eligible for vaccination just isn’t a zero-cost possibility, and the funding wanted for a wider programme must be checked out in opposition to the potential advantages.
With the NHS and wider public sector going through many challenges (for instance, psychological well being and most cancers, and colleges that want substantial funding for repairs), there are numerous calls on public spending. Due to this fact choices on eligibility for Covid vaccination have to be pragmatic and evidence-based.
Proponents of wider vaccination haven’t introduced information displaying that vaccinating teams at decrease threat of problems equivalent to hospital admission and dying shall be cost-effective and a greater use of public spending than funding in different precedence areas. The period of mass vaccination we noticed earlier within the pandemic is ending and extra international locations will – just like the UK – transfer in direction of focused vaccination of higher-risk teams, as we already see yearly for flu vaccination.
The one circumstances during which we’re more likely to see a return to mass vaccination is that if a brand new variant of Sars-CoV-2 emerges that may bypass immunity from vaccination and prior an infection, and trigger extra severe illness than the virus variants which might be presently circulating. For now, focused vaccination of higher-risk teams stays essentially the most rational and value‑efficient coverage.
Prof Azeem Majeed
Imperial School London