LONDON (Reuters) -The former head of Britain’s vaccine task force said on Tuesday that the vaccines against COVID-19 would need to become cheaper to administer – whether with patches, pills or sprays – to ensure countries do not have to spend so much.
Kate Bingham, former chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said the virus was ahead in the battle and that the world should ensure it gets vaccines out to everyone who was immunocompromised.
“We can’t be in a position where we have to go through this monumental logistics challenge of actually getting vaccines into arms,” Bingham told a parliamentary committee.
“So the other area that I think we must be pushing forward is: how do we improve the format of these vaccines so that they are much easier and more cheap to deploy whether that is patches, pills or sprays.”
The Omicron variant was detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong at around the same time. It was registered on the GISAID database by Hong Kong on Nov. 22, followed by Botswana and South Africa a day later.
“This is a global pandemic so we have to get vaccines out to everybody who needs them – especially the immunocompromised,” Bingham said.
“It would be prudent to develop variant vaccines so that what I think would be the annual boosts – certainly for the vulnerable – will be against Omicron rather than Wuhan.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle)