Scientists Say Vaccines May Be Reformulated Later This Year To Target Variants

Coronavirus vaccines may be reformulated in the future to protect people against the Omicron variant but time is being taken first to assess the effectiveness of boosters, scientists have said.

Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance hold a press conference in Downing Street (Adrian Dennis/PA) - PA Wire © PA Wire Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance hold a press conference in Downing Street (Adrian Dennis/PA) - PA Wire

The UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty made the comments at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday where Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England’s move towards Plan B.

The new restrictions see Covid health certificates becoming mandatory in large venues, mask rules being extended and people being told to work from home if they can.

During a question-and-answer session of the briefing, the UK’s top scientists were asked if the general public should expect to routinely be faced with restrictions during the winter as a result of coronavirus.

Sir Patrick said coronavirus might be expected to become like flu, with seasonal peaks and vaccines that needed to be tweaked.

He added Omicron was a “surprise” change, “a big one” and he acknowledged people would feel “deflated” as a result but said there are things “that can be done”.

I think in the long run the outlook is good, but we have to accept there is still a difficult period

Professor Chris Whitty

Sir Patrick told journalists: “I think the vaccines are going to hold up to some extent here, I think probably boosters will really push that to a level that’s going to be important, we need to test that and find out.


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