European Covid surge shows booster jabs are ‘critical’, Sage adviser warns

There has been unrest across Europe at the reintroduction of some coronavirus restrictions

Europe’s latest surge of Covid infections has highlighted the ‘critical’ importance of getting vaccinated, a government scientific adviser has claimed.

Professor John Edmunds said the latest wave on the continent underlines ‘how quickly’ things can go wrong, as he urged the millions of Britons yet to be jabbed to take up their invites.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) group member’s intervention comes as parts of Europe go into lockdown again, with Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands among the nations to tighten restrictions in recent days, as case numbers spike.

The Government has insisted that there is no need for the UK to follow suit, but experts are concerned about another rise in domestic cases, particularly with vaccine take up beginning to flat line among those who have not been jabbed at all.

However, the UK is ahead of many countries on booster jabs while the nation’s case load has been far larger than others for many months – meaning natural immunity is higher.

Professor Edmunds told Sky News: ‘There are still many millions of people here in the UK who have not been fully vaccinated – it’s essential now.

‘What you see now particularly in central Europe with this very rapid increase in cases, you see the importance of vaccination, how critical it is that people who need their boosters should come forward as rapidly as possible and get vaccinated.

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‘Those who are still unvaccinated – and there are many unfortunately out there – should come forward and be vaccinated as rapidly as possible.’

Germany has warned that it may follow Austria in introducing another full lockdown as it struggles to cope with a resurgence of the virus.

Austria has also made vaccinations compulsory, while there has been unrest in Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands over new Covid policies.

The World Health Organisation has said it is very worried about the new European surge and fears another 500,000 people could die with the disease by March.

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Addressing the problems on the continent, Professor Edmunds said that it shows how quickly things can go wrong.

On booster jabs, he added: ‘I am concerned about waning immunity.

‘The booster doses, it is pretty clear, do give a clear boost to your immune system, which may last some considerable time so I think it’s really essential that the booster doses are rolled out as fast as possible.’

The UK has so far administered nearly 51 million first doses, around 46 million second jabs and more than 13 million boosters, according to the latest figures.

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