Covid: Vaccines ‘may not confer good mucosal immunity’, warns new study – health risks

Andrew Neil discusses Covid booster jabs on This Morning

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Scientific commentary – documented in the journal Zoonoses – made clear that the global eradication of coronavirus is “unlikely”, and so a long-term view on managing the disease is crucial. To date, the Covid vaccines on offer – including inactivated whole virus vaccines, mRNA vaccines, and adenovirus-vectored vaccines – are effective at preventing severe disease. Yet, researchers from The University of Hong Kong pointed out the limitations of the Covid vaccines.

“They may not confer good mucosal immunity to prevent the establishment of infection and subsequent viral shedding and transmission,” the researchers said.

This suggests the Covid vaccines are unable to stop a person from catching coronavirus and passing it on to others.

“Mucosal vaccines delivered via intranasal route may provide a promising direction,” Xin Li – one of the study’s authors – pointed out.

After having two intramuscular vaccinations (given in the upper arm muscles), Li and the fellow scientists suggest a third jab given via the nasal cavity.

This is said to promote “mucosal immunity, in addition to boosting the systemic cell-mediated immunity and antibody response”.

“Repeated doses of booster vaccine will likely be required,” the scientists hypothesised.

“Especially for the elderly and the immunocompromised patients who are most vulnerable to infection.”

The scientists predict that annual Covid booster jabs will be needed for these groups, akin to the yearly flu jabs.

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In England, however, the third Covid booster jab is not going to be given via the nasal cavity.

Covid booster vaccines will be given in the upper arm muscle, just like the other two Covid jabs.

The NHS said: “Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had two doses of a vaccine.”

This includes:

  • People aged 50 and over
  • People who live and work in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • Carers aged 16 and over
  • People aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).

“People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose,” the NHS added.

Those eligible for a Covid booster vaccine should expect to be offered the booster jab at least six months after they’ve received their second dose.

The NHS will contact people – the same way they did when the first two Covid vaccines were offered.

Most people will receive either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid vaccine.

Booster vaccine side effects

As with any vaccine, side effects are commonplace, which may include:

  • A sore arm from the injection
  • Feeling tired
  • A headache
  • Feeling achy
  • Feeling or being sick.

For some people, they might develop a high temperature and feel hot or shivery for one to two days.

All these side effects should not last longer than a week, but any symptoms that worsen from four days onwards (after having the jab) warrant a call to NHS 111.

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