As we move to a point where more people are immunised around the world, or have natural infection, the virus will only survive if it is able to make new versions of itself that can still spread … despite that immunity. I think we have to come to terms with the fact that that is going to be the future.
Our question at this moment is are we going to need new vaccines? Not to prevent that spread … but to stop people going into hospital?
At this point, the jury is out on that. All of the vaccines in the trials in those regions where new variants are emerging – we are not seeing a sudden shift where lots of people who are vaccinated are ending up in hospital.
They are still being protected from hospitalisation. We need more data to be secure on this … but if that’s the case, we might need boosters, we might need tweaks every year, but actually we might not.
We might be generating enough immunity with the current generation of vaccines to stop severe disease.