Prepare for fourth Covid jab, Tony Blair Institute says

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The research institute founded by former UK prime minister Tony Blair has called on the government to create a command-and-control team that could help it remain “ahead of the curve” and quickly roll out more vaccines.

In a paper published on Tuesday, the Tony Blair Institute said the British government should seek to develop infrastructure that would allow it to mobilize new vaccination campaigns within 48 hours. 

With the prospect of yet more Covid variants emerging, it highlighted that “a fourth dose of the vaccine may soon be needed.” 

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The institute contended that the ability to respond to future Covid strain outbreaks would depend on whether administrations could implement “a better approach to ‘command and control’ through a strong and coherent public-health emergency operations center.”

The non-profit organization said the emergence of Omicron highlighted the fact that governments are often forced to react, rather than working to “stay ahead of the curve.”

“To achieve this, we need to take decisions fast, take them in a coordinated manner, and execute effectively and at speed. Be prepared at all times,” the paper reads.

Noting examples from other nations, the institute said the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation should be doing more, including “rapidly” approving the use of Covid-19 vaccines in children aged five to 11 in an effort to reduce transmission.

It is also of the view that the government should be moving faster in approving antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19 infections.

Its paper calls for a renewed effort to inoculate the 6.2 million people in the UK who remain unvaccinated against Covid. Noting that those who are unvaccinated make up some 43% of hospital admissions, the authors suggest using anthropological research and behavioral science to understand why people aren’t adhering to public health guidance in getting their Covid shots.

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