The government has signalled that it plans to vaccinate care home residents and workers first, as soon as a vaccine gets regulatory approval, followed by other groups in order of their vulnerability to the virus.
As such, Professor Spector said: “I think we might see no real change in the population, but hopefully less disease in care homes and hospitals, which in the first wave was a very major problem.”
He also said it remained unclear whether a vaccine would help people suffering with long Covid, or make it worse.
“We still don’t really understand the immunology of long Covid, so there’s no reason to think it will go in one direction or another,” he said, adding that on the plus side, it could end up curing their enduring symptoms.
Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist from Imperial College who was also in the seminar, said a vaccine could affect people with different kinds of long Covid differently.
“If I was suffering, I would go ahead and have the vaccine, with the current stage of our knowledge,” he said. “I don’t know any reason to think that boosting the immune response would be harmful.”