lderly people should not kiss their grandchildren even if they have received a second dose of a coronavirus vaccine, an expert claimed today.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee of Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI), said it may not be safe to break social-distancing rules even after having two doses.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Harnden was asked by a listener whether he was allowed to kiss his school-age grandchildren, with the JCVI deputy chair replying: “no”.
“You need to be really careful and remember that even after the second dose of vaccine it’s not necessarily 100 per cent effective,” he said.
“At the moment, we still need to be cautious and obey the rules and I don’t think kissing grandchildren is allowed”.
Professor Harnden added that while the vaccine offers protection against severe disease, how much protection it offers overall still remains unknown.
“Well it’ll offer you very good protection against severe disease and hospitalisation but we don’t know yet how much protection it’ll offer against asymptomatic infections,” he said.
Research led by Public Health Scotland found at four weeks after the first dose, hospital admissions were reduced 94 per cent for the AstraZeneca jab.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to have efficacies of 95 per cent and 94.5 per cent respectively.
Advisors to the government said the UK’s vaccine programme should continued to be based on age, with those aged in their 40s expected to be offered a jab within weeks.
Professor Harnden’s comments come as Sage scientist Susan Michie warned people may follow the lockdown restrictions less strictly after getting vaccinated for coronavirus.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The concern is that as the vaccination programme rolls out and more people are getting vaccinated themselves and seeing other people in their community getting vaccinated, that people may drop their guard.”
She said evidence comes from Lyme disease and influenza vaccine rollouts where those vaccinated were less likely to adhere to preventative behaviours.
In national surveys from December, some 29% of people said that after getting vaccinated they would adhere less strictly to the rules and 11% said they would not follow the rules.