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75% OF BRITONS DOUBLE JAGGED; PM hails roll-out but top medic warns herd immunity is a 'myth'.

Byline: RACHEL WEARMOUTH reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

MORE than three-quarters of adults are now double vaccinated, new data shows, as one of the UK's most senior scientists warned that herd immunity was "mythical".

Government data said 39,688,566 people had received both doses, while another seven million have had a single dose.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the vaccine programme "incredible", adding: "This is a huge national achievement, which we should all be proud of."

But Sir Andrew Pollard, who chairs the UK's vaccines watchdog the JCVI, told MPs yesterday that while jags would "slow" transmission, new strains could still infect the double vaccinated.

The JCVI last week said children of 16 and 17 should be offered at least one dose of vaccine. But Pollard suggested vaccinating younger kids would not help stop the spread entirely and the programme should not be built around it.

He told a session of the all-party group on coronavirus: "This current variant, the Delta variant, will still infect people who have been vaccinated and that does mean that anyone who's still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus."

Pollard predicted that the next thing may be "a variant which is perhaps even better at transmitting in vaccinated populations" as he suggested herd immunity was "mythical".

He added: "So, that's even more of a reason not to be making a vaccine programme around herd immunity."

It came as Scotland's medics keep a close eye on infection numbers after legal requirements for physical distancing, except in healthcare settings, were removed on Monday.

All venues, including nightclubs, are now able to reopen. However, some measures, such as the requirement to wear face coverings indoors in public places and on public transport, remain in place.

The number of coronavirus deaths appears to be slowly falling in Scotland, but in England and Wales it has climbed to its highest level since the end of March, with 404 deaths registered in the week ending July 30 - up 24 per cent in a week.

Professor Paul Hunter from East Anglia University said that variants which would escape vaccines were "absolutely inevitable" and the virus was here to stay in some form.

He said coronaviruses already in circulation will infect people "repeatedly" throughout their lives, typically on average every four or five years.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair in global public health at Edinburgh University, said new strains of Covid would hit vaccines, adding: "We have already seen Alpha, Beta, Delta, it is inevitable."

She added that vaccines had "transformed" the pandemic but "not solved it".

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Title Annotation:News; Teasers
Author:RACHEL WEARMOUTH reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2021
Words:425
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