The first wave of COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to end the pandemic, the UK vaccines chief has told Sky News.
The UK has 340 million doses of six prototype vaccines in its stockpile – more than any other country.
But Kate Bingham, who heads the Vaccine Taskforce, said uncertainties remain over how much protection they give and for how long. Further candidates, including some in early development, will still be needed.
“We are not done,” she said in an exclusive interview with Sky News.
Two vaccines, made by Oxford University/AstraZeneca and BioNTech/Pfizer, are expected to release data from key phase 3 clinical trials within weeks.
They should show whether the vaccines stop the virus spreading or just alleviate symptoms.
But Ms Bingham said even a vaccine that reduces the severity of disease in vulnerable patients would still be worthwhile.
“A partially effective vaccine is better than no vaccine at all,” she continued.
“Flu vaccines are 50% effective, but they are widely used and have a big impact on reducing the clinical impacts of flu in the population.”