The public is being urged to put faith in approved vaccines as “exceptionally safe” and helping to prevent “really serious disease”.
A report published on Tuesday by the British Academy and the Royal Society for the SET-C (Science in Emergencies Tasking: Covid-19) found that about 36 per cent of people in the UK said they were either uncertain or very unlikely to be vaccinated against the virus.
But Professor Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, said the long-term side-effects of Covid-19 are “way more dramatic” than those from a vaccine.
“The current vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, has been studied in 43,000 individuals, so we know it’s safe in terms of it doesn’t cause any acute problems,” he told BBC Breakfast. “Long-term side-effects will be studied for the next two years. I think they are likely to be rare, but it’s something that will be followed very carefully…
“When you’re balancing that risk, obviously it’s going to prevent you from getting Covid-19, and it’s going to prevent you from all the risks of long Covid, or serious illness.”
He added: “So that equation is very clear in my mind. Vaccines are exceptionally safe medicines and they prevent really serious disease.”