Just over half of the UK population would be ‘very likely’ to have a vaccine against the coronavirus, according to research published by Ipsos MORI. Scientists at Kings College London say people’s attitudes towards an injection is affected by what it calls, “damaging misconceptions”. Imperial College London Immunology Professor, Danny Altmann, warned Sky News that the concerning indication of numbers could place the UK “at terrible risk”.
He explained: “It’s desperately worrying. It’s a small survey but it resonated with others I’ve seen around the world.”
The professor added “the idea that nearly half” would not be desperate to get the vaccine, could be damaging for the rest of the population.
He continued: “We’re all in this together, and the rough calculation is that we need strong protective immunity in about 60 percent of the population for this thing to really be got rid of and for life to go back to normal.
“If we’re saying that about 50 percent of the population isn’t sure if they want it or not, that puts all of us at terrible risk of just carrying on with the situation ad nauseam.”
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Professor Altmann continued: “We’re all living out this terrible dystopian existence at the moment that we never dreamt of and we need an escape strategy.
“This is a virus that lives in people’s lungs and gets transmitted really quite readily.
“The only escape route we have is if we block off the part of transmission by having about 60 percent of the population carrying protective antibodies and T-cells so that it no longer has a pool of people to transmit to.
“If 50 percent of people aren’t going to join in with us, they’re going to wreck it for us.”
If the vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses available by September for the UK.
This is part of an agreement of over 100 million doses in total, which the UK will be first to get access to.
The Government has also accelerated the building of the UK’s first vaccine manufacturing centre.
They are investing a further £93 million in the centre ensuring that it opens in summer 2021, a full 12 months ahead of schedule.
The centre, which is already under construction, will have the capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire UK population in as little as six months.