The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advisors to the United Kingdom government is expected to rule out an immediate booster vaccine programme for all adults. This comes as British scientists are exploring the idea of whether smaller doses of COVID vaccine could be used in these programmes, in a bid to increase worldwide supply. 

Breaking it down:

The UK government is likely to introduce a booster, an additional vaccine shot, programme for vulnerable and people at risk to boost their immunity against the coronavirus. This could start as early as next month, The Guardian estimates. However, scientists believe that the booster shot could rather be a 'fractional dose' and in doing this, global vaccine shortage can be tackled, while still providing high levels of protection from the virus.

Also read: UK to start antibody tests for COVID patients for first time

As of now, research is being conducted and JCVI is expected to give out a decision on the autumn booster programme accordingly. The researchers are examining the safety and side effects of different doses, the Guardian reported. 

As per reports, about 11 billion doses will be needed to fully vaccinate 70% of the world’s population. At the start of July, 3.2 billion doses had been administered. At this rate, the world's poorest will have to wait until 2023 for a vaccine.

Also Read | Natural vs COVID vaccine induced-immunity: All questions answered

"Stretching the vaccine supply further by administering lower doses of the antigens has been a strategy used in emergency situations when Ebola and polio vaccine supplies were limited. The basic idea is to immunise more people with the same supply. The key question is whether for each individual, vaccine efficacy is reduced, and if so, by how much," David Hunter, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Oxford University, said. 

The World Health Organization, early in August, said that with the support of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and its COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group, it was reviewing the role of fractionating doses as a dose-sparing strategy in light of global vaccine supply constraints.