Covid booster shots not needed this winter as two jabs are so effective, says Oxford expert

THE Oxford vaccine is so effective that autumn booster shots may not be needed, its makers have said.

Protection against the virus remains for at least a year after just one dose – and stays at more than 90 per cent “for quite some months” with two jabs, new tests have shown.

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Oxford will today announce its vaccine CAN be used as a third-dose booster following trials, producing “a substantial increase in antibodies”.

But Prof Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “There’s no indication today that we need boosters. We have data showing very good levels of protection for quite some months after the second dose – over 90 per cent.

“We need to keep looking at the data as the months go by. We would expect to see immunity start to wane over time, but our immune systems are very clever and will remember that we’ve been vaccinated.”

He added it would be “unacceptable” to give fully-protected Brits unnecessary booster jabs when parts of the world have yet to receive any vaccine.

He said: “With high levels of protection in the UK population and no evidence of that being lost, to give third doses now in the UK while other countries have zero doses is not acceptable.

“We really have to make sure that other countries are protected, for our own good as much as theirs.”

Trials of a new variant vaccine, also developed in Oxford, targeting the South African “Beta” mutation are due to start this week.

Separate trials found longer delays between doses of the Oxford jab provide better protection.

Scientists tried leaving 45 weeks between the first and second shots, and found it lead to “an enhanced immune response”.

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