A vaccine against Covid-19 may not work well in older people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from the disease, say scientists, which may mean immunising others around them, such as children.
Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial, one of the members of the UK’s Sage scientific advisory sub-group Nervtag, told the House of Lords science and technology committee it was this week considering a paper on targeting different groups in the population with vaccines.
“Sometimes it is possible to protect a vulnerable group by targeting another group and this, for example, is being done with influenza,” he said. “In the past few years, the UK has been at the forefront of rolling out the live attenuated vaccine for children.”
Giving the nasal spray flu vaccine to children who do not often get severe flu protects their grandparents, he said. Immunising health and care workers – who are likely to be the first to get the vaccine – would also help protect older people who have the most contact with them.