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Lord Sumption warns vaccine is not a ‘magic bullet’ for coronavirus ‘We must live with it’

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Lord Jonathan Sumption told the Recovery campaign launch event that society will have to learn to live with the coronavirus and compared it to the flu. He outlined that immunologists believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will only be partially and temporarily effective in combatting the disease. 

Lord Sumption said: “The big question is how effective it will be.

“The vaccine is not an alternative to collective immunity, it is simply a faster route to collective immunity.

“There are diseases like smallpox or measles for which exposure to the disease will give you a lifetime of natural immunity.

“There are diseases like flu which expose to the disease will confer only a partial and temporary natural immunity in which case, so will a vaccine.

“Most immunologists that I have spoken to or who’s work has been published now think that a COVID vaccine will be of the second kind.”

He added: “It will not be a magic bullet.

“It will only be partially and temporarily effective.

“So we will still have to live with COVID-19 long term just as we have to live with the flu.” 

Last week a virology expert stated that the coronavirus vaccine could still be “years away” from being ready.

Dr Simon Clarke told talkRADIO a viable coronavirus vaccine may not be ready until the second half of 2021 at the earliest.

He warned the vaccine may not be suitable for everybody and could have long-term side effects. 

Dr Clarke was asked: “What would be your estimate of when one might be ready?”

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He replied: “Ready for it to go into people? At the very earliest the second half next year, 12 months from now but it could be years away.

“Even if they do get a vaccine, it might not be suitable for everybody.

“For instance, it might not be suitable for elderly people who are the ones who need it.

“There are all these other things to find out, we don’t know how long it will give you immunity for.

“And whether there are any long-term side effects.”

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