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expert comment on the current COVID-19 situation

A general comment from Dr Jeremy Farrar on the current COVID-19 situation in the UK.


Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said:

“This is perhaps the hardest UK policy decision of the last 18 months.  With cases and transmission increasing in the UK, and the new Delta variant now dominant, it’s crucial we wait and follow the data over the coming two weeks.  The important question is whether rising cases are leading to an increase in severe illness and death.  We know there is a time lag of several weeks between people first catching the infection, getting ill, going to hospital & ICUs, and dying.  Which is why we need to wait until as close as possible to 21st June, so we have all the data we need to make the right decision.

“I’m cautiously optimistic.  UK vaccine rollout has been a phenomenal success & saved countless lives.  But we must keep vaccination up and use the time between now and 21st June to carefully look at the trends in the data.  We must also not forget that while 75% of UK adults have had at least one dose of vaccine, globally too many countries still lack doses to protect healthcare workers & the most vulnerable.

“The best way to protect the UK from future variants is through global vaccination.  As long as the virus continues to circulate, it will continue to mutate.  We’re seeing first-hand how quickly new variants can emerge and travel.  We cannot rule out variants against which our vaccines and treatments no longer work.  The UK, as president of the G7, must now show the historic leadership needed to end this crisis, by sharing at least 20% of available doses between now and August, lay out a detailed timetable for further sharing and bring the G7 together to commit to sharing 1 billion doses over 2021 and fully fund the ACT-Accelerator.  This is the best way to protect the UK, end the pandemic as quickly as possible and save the greatest number of lives.  It’s our best shot of life returning to normal.”

In an open letter published today, Wellcome’s Director, Dr Jeremy Farrar, & Stephen Waugh, Executive Director at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), urge the UK Prime Minister to show historic leadership and begin sharing vaccines with the world.



Previously issued comments on this topic:

02/06/2021 Comment on current COVID-19 situation and whether we are entering a third wave:



All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:



Declared interests

Dr Jeremy Farrar: “Wellcome co-founded and co-funds CEPI, which has provided support to the development and manufacture of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccine candidate.”


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