Future COVID vaccines could be sent to people in the post, former Vaccine Taskforce head suggests
Kate Bingham says future vaccines need to be simplified if they need to be given repeatedly
That could mean vaccines being taken orally, or through skin patches sent in the post
Future coronavirus vaccines could be taken through a skin patch and sent to people in the post.
Kate Bingham, the former head of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, made the claim as she said deployment of the vaccine needs to be simplified if, as expected, it turns out people will need further doses in future.
Bingham told MPs that in this case, the taskforce is aiming to make deployment of the vaccine “as simple as an annual flu jab” and make the process “much more routine”.
Appearing before the House of Common public accounts committee on Monday afternoon, Bingham, who left her role at the end of last year, said: “Fundamentally, how can we approve the actual vaccine formats?
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“Because at the moment, they require needles, two doses, cold chains, healthcare professionals to administer… none of those are ideal for vaccines if they need to be given repeatedly.
“So we need to be developing vaccine formats which are ideally oral… or intra-nasal, or even a patch where you could just get it sent in the post and that, basically, will protect you for whatever period it may be.”
It comes after Prof Chris Whitty, one of Boris Johnson’s top coronavirus advisers, had earlier said on a rare interview round of radio and TV stations that there’s a “reasonable chance” people will need to be re-vaccinated.
England’s chief medical officer told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think there is a reasonable chance that, rather like with flu, we have to vaccinate every year – we may well have to re-vaccinate for COVID.”
The government is currently attempting to roll out the vaccine to nearly 14 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February.
The huge logistical operation has included the opening of seven mass vaccination centres in England on Monday.
A total of 2.33 million COVID-19 vaccinations had taken place in England up to January 10, according to provisional figures published by NHS England.
Of this number, 1.96 million were the first dose of the vaccine and 374,000 were the second dose.
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