“Regardless of the variant first identified in India, we would have seen a resurgence of cases as society opens up. Now we will see a doubling (2.5) of this. The advice is to never be first to the party when it comes to COVID-19. If the government announces that people can return to the office, consider your ability as an organisation to do this gradually. Don’t be a maverick in the COVID-19 world.” Dr Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez, Global Medical Director, International SOS

The vaccine rollout in the UK has been heralded as a triumph, and rightly so. By mid-May 2021, over a third of the nation was fully vaccinated. Sadly, this does not ring true globally, and there is a wide disparity across continents, with 87% of the vaccine doses administered in wealthier countries. This disproportion will have implications as the pandemic evolves into an endemic, causing localised pockets of infection. In 4-5 years, COVID-19 will become like yellow fever and malaria, and this could impact travel in the future.

The discovery that surface transmission does not pose as great a risk as previously thought has massive implications for ongoing prevention measures. As the virus is primarily airborne, energies will be channelled away from deep cleaning and handwashing and towards air ventilation.

From July 19th, the majority or restrictions will be lifted in the UK, including wearing masks and social distancing. Nevertheless, the government has warned that we are very far from the end of dealing with the virus, and people will be encouraged to use their personal judgement on the risks of infection. The immune escape response of COVID-19 variants is also the subject of an ongoing investigation. Another barrier is that we still don’t know how long immunity will last for the vaccinated. Promisingly, participants in Phase 3 Moderna and Astra Zeneca trials are still showing a high number of antibodies. Nevertheless, vaccine boosters may still be necessary further down the line.

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Vaccines Update

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