A former chief scientific adviser has warned that coronavirus will be present ‘forever’ and people are likely to need regular vaccinations against it.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, who is a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said that, like flu, repeat inoculations will be required to control outbreaks – but Covid-19 will never be ‘eradicated by vaccination’ like smallpox was.
His stark warning comes amid fears that the country could see a second national lockdown if it sees a rise in cases like Spain – a move Professor Walport did not rule out entirely.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations,’ he said.
‘So, a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals.’
The scientist also warned that it is ‘possible’ the virus will get ‘out of control’ again, but said more targeted measures can now be used instead of a generic lockdown.
He added: ‘People have argued very strongly that applying generic lockdowns isn’t the answer. Initially it had to be the case but now we can be much more targeted in the approach.’
Asked if Britain will never see another wide-spread lockdown again, he replied: ‘Never is a very strong word. The whole point is to improve the local control, increase the amount of testing, give guidance to avoid that happening.
Read more: Covid will be around ‘FOREVER’ and Brits will need ‘repeated vaccinations’, warns SAGE scientist who says Boris being forced to impose another national lockdown is ‘possible’ but ‘local ones are more likely’