Covid vaccinee Petra Moinar prepares syringes with the AstraZeneca vaccine before it is administered on March 8, 2021 at the Battersea Arts Center in London, England.
Chris J. Ratcliffe | Getty Images News | Getty Images
LONDON – England’s chief medical officer has warned that the coming winter will continue to be difficult for the country’s health system despite the country’s successful coronavirus vaccination program.
Another relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England was delayed this week due to a surge in cases of the Delta variant, first discovered in India.
In a speech to the NHS Confederation on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the current wave of Covid infections due to the Delta variant is likely to be followed by another surge in winter.
He said that Covid-19 “hasn’t thrown its final surprise on us and there will be a few more”. [variants] over the next period, “said Sky News. He added that it would likely be five years before vaccines that could” hold the line “to a very high degree against a number of coronavirus variants would be in place.
And until then, he said new vaccination programs and booster vaccinations were needed.
In the UK, where the Delta variant is now responsible for the majority of new infections, cases have increased in young people and unvaccinated people, leading to an increase in hospital admissions in these cohorts.
There is hope that Covid-19 vaccination programs can stop the spread of the Delta variant, and so the race to protect younger people who may not be fully vaccinated is on.
An analysis published by Public Health England on Monday showed that two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech or Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalizations from the Delta variant.
However, some vaccines are reported to be less effective against other strains. For example, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this month that he had started commercial negotiations with AstraZeneca to obtain a vaccine variant – which has been adapted to combat the variant first discovered in South Africa.
Trials of booster vaccinations are underway in the UK, and it is reported that the population will have a third vaccination before winter this year.
Over 42 million people in the UK have received a first dose of a vaccine – that’s around 80% of the adult population – and over 30 million people have received their second dose.
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this article.