New research has suggested that the protection provided by the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines begins to reduce after six months.
One expert stated that a worst-case scenario would see a 50% reduction in protection for the elderly and healthcare workers by winter.
In regards to the Pfizer vaccine, protection decreased by 74% after five to six months, according to the latest analysis from the UK’s Zoe Covid study.
In regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine, there was a 67% decrease in protection after four to five months.
The study used over 1.2 million test results and participants, suggesting that Pfizer’s protection was reduced by 14 percentage points in four months while AstraZeneca fell by ten percentage points.
Lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Study Professor Tim Spector stated, “If high levels of infection in the UK, driven by loosened social restrictions and a highly transmissible variant, this scenario could mean increased hospitalisations and deaths.”
“We urgently need to make plans for vaccine boosters, and based on vaccine resources, decide if a strategy to vaccinate children is sensible if our aim is to reduce deaths and hospital admissions.”
He added that a reduction in protection is expected and should not be a reason to avoid vaccination while adding that the vaccine still provides high levels of protection for the majority of the population, especially against the Delta variant.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee is considering the use of booster vaccines for the autumn to provide extra immunity.
However, the World Health Organisation has advised against booster vaccines, arguing that they should be sent to developing countries instead.