‘You can't dodge Covid,' top scientist warns unvaccinated

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‘You can’t dodge Covid,’ top scientist warns unvaccinated

Millions of unjabbed people in Britain have been warned they cannot “dodge” Covid forever so should get vaccinated to protect themselves from the risk of “personal tragedy”.

The stark message from Professor Adam Finn of Bristol university, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, came as a massive new campaign was being rolled out to get people fully inoculated against coronavirus amid the threat from the Omicron variant.

The leading scientist told the Standard that unvaccinated people were “making the wrong decision for themselves personally” and that those more “afraid” of the vaccine than the virus were making a “wrong calculation”.

With hundreds of thousands of adults in London yet to be jabbed, Professor Finn said: “The risks of having the vaccine are tiny compared to the risks of inevitably becoming infected with this virus because if you don’t get vaccinated, you will get the virus.

“The risks that you face are so much greater, even if you are young and healthy. You can’t dodge the virus.”

In other developments:

  • Scientists are “hopeful” booster vaccines will offer good protection against Omicron, even if they are less effective against it than other variants, with T-cell immunity possibly playing a significant role. A CovBoost study, which did not specifically look at Omicron, showed Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna gave a “very high” boost and AstraZeneca, Novavax and Janssen a “very effective” one against the virus.

  • Nearly 37,000 confirmed Covid cases have been announced in London in a week, according to official figures, with the capital also having the highest number of Omicron cases, 15, in the country.

  • Germany reported 74,352 new daily Covid cases and is banning the unjabbed from all but the most essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries, and took steps towards mandatory vaccination.

  • From tomorrow, travellers to France from Britain aged 12 and over, even if fully vaccinated, will have to provide a negative PCR or antigen test carried out less than 48 hours prior to departure. Spain has banned the unvaccinated from Britain aged 12 and over.

  • South Africa is facing an “unprecedented rise” in Covid cases over a short time due to Omicron, said Michelle Groome of the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

London has lagged behind other regions on first and second doses, with take-up rates particularly low in some ethnic minority communities.

Health chiefs say that key to persuading people to get jabbed is for them to hear the facts about safety and efficacy from family, friends and other people they trust, including community leaders. Professor Finn said: “If you are unvaccinated, you are… essentially making a wrong decision and everyone needs to have that adequately explained by someone they trust.”

There are now more than 1,000 Covid patients in London’s hospitals.

Professor Finn added: “The people we are seeing in hospital now who are sick with this virus, or mortally ill, and who are unvaccinated all wish that they had been properly informed.”

Covid vaccines being used in the UK give strong protection to individuals, especially after booster shots, against Delta and earlier variants.

Professor Finn said: “If you are unvaccinated and end up in hospital then you are taking up a bed which might be needed by somebody else with some other problem… and what is shutting society down in these lockdowns is a lack of hospital beds. So in that sense there is a broader responsibility to this.”

However, he stressed that the main reason for people to get jabbed is to safeguard themselves.

“I don’t think people should be getting vaccinated out of altruism, I think they should be getting vaccinated out of selfishness, they want to stay alive,” he added.

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