Vaccine strategy needs rethink after resistant variants emerge, say scientists

Goal should be protecting at-risk groups not herd immunity, say experts, after Oxford vaccine shown not to work fully against variants

Leading vaccine scientists are calling for a rethink of the goals of vaccination programmes, warning that herd immunity through vaccination is unlikely to be possible because of the emergence of variants like that in South Africa.

The comments came as the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca acknowledged that their vaccine will not protect people against mild to moderate Covid illness caused by the South African variant. The Oxford/AZ vaccine is the mainstay of the UK’s immunisation programme and vitally important around the world because of its low cost and ease of use.

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