Vaccine professor warns some coronavirus jab skeptics will get ‘very sick’

Vaccine professor warns some coronavirus jab skeptics will get ‘very sick’

 

A top vaccine scientist has warned that people who reject the Covid-19 vaccine will get “very sick”.

On the day that the first non-trial patient was vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UK, Professor Robin Shattock made the stark warning at a Royal Society of Medicine online event.

The professor, who is helping develop Imperial College London’s Covid-19 vaccine, said that sceptics have to weigh up the very real risks of disease compared with the perceived risk of the jab.

“(Vaccines) have been the most impactful intervention against infectious diseases globally,” he said.

“Next to access to clean water, they have saved more lives than any other intervention.”

Prof Shattock said people had become so used to not seeing disease that fear of side effects has started to outweigh fear of illness itself.

“I think what we will see as the vaccine is rolled out is that sadly we will start to hear stories of the person who declined the vaccine who ends up really sick,” he said.

He added: “I think people need to ask, do you want to be the individual who ends up in hospital or ends up having long-term consequences of Covid-19 because you’ve avoided a vaccine for this very theoretical risk of a side effect?

“Whereas there is a very real risk of having serious consequences of Covid-19.

“So it’s about a risk benefit ratio, no medicine is without any risk at all, but the risk of contracting Covid-19 and having a serious consequence of that is so much higher than any potential risk from a vaccine.

“It is a fairly easy judgment in my mind.”

He went on to explain that the vaccine exposes the recipient to just the “spikes” of Covid-19 and not the virus itself.

Professor Shattock said: “What it is is just taking a sequence of code for the protein that sits on the surface of the virus.”

He explained the spikes of the virus are known as the corona – “crown” in Latin – and are what gives the virus its name.

“(The Imperial vaccine) is just expressing that surface protein and the rest of the virus isn’t there,” he said.

“It’s that bit that sticks out that the immune system needs to see.”

Professor Shattock went on to express how surprised he was the a working vaccine was developed this year.

“If you were to have asked me what were the chances of success in May or June for any individual vaccine, I would have said they had about a 20% chance,” he said.

“And that’s because for other infectious diseases it has been really, really difficult.”

He said: “So this is a great success story, but also a great relief that actually it wasn’t a story like HIV where we’ve been spending 30 years and still struggling to find out what would protect you against infection, so a really good news story.”

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