Medical professionals have called on the government to reconsider allowing double vaccinated people to avoid isolating if they come into contact with an infected person.
An advisor to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Professor Robert West, has suggested the move could lead to resentment and said problems associated with such an exemption “outweigh the potential benefits”.
His comments come after The Times revealed fully vaccinated people who have been in contact with a coronavirus sufferer will be free to carry on life as normal with no need to take daily tests, in the coming weeks.
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‘A huge unfairness’
Ministers are said to be preparing to make the move next month, which could see infections increase by more than 25 percent. The government has allegedly decided to take the risk, as moves are made to fully lift Covid restrictions.
There have also been significant concerns raised about whether non-vaccinated people will react by refusing to follow isolation rules.
Professor Robert West, a health psychologist who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which advises Sage told Times Radio: “if you have a situation where not everyone has been even offered the vaccine then you’ve already got clearly a huge unfairness.”
The University College London academic added: “When you get unfairness in situations like this, you get resentment and when you get resentment you can get loss of compliance.”
However, not all medical professionals are in agreement, as Dr Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer in communicable diseases at the University of Exeter, said the move would be “perfectly okay.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that vaccines were breaking the link between cases, hospital admissions and deaths, meaning “we can start thinking about other uncoupling measures, such as no need to quarantine after being fully immunised”.
Advisor to the government’s test and trace procedure, Epidemiologist Professor Christophe Fraser, stated there could be a middle ground.
He advised that daily testing of fully vaccinated people, but lifting isolation, could provide a ‘midway’ alternative.
The Oxford University academic said he agreed the self-isolation policy “needs to be reviewed in light of the data on the vaccine effectiveness”.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has also allegedly admitted wearing face coverings may continue to be a requirement in confined spaces, The Times reported.
New Health Minister, Sajid Javid, also refused to confirm whether all restrictions would be lifted on July 19, when he addressed MPs in the House of Commons earlier this week.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that about one in 260 people in private households in England had Covid in the week to June 26 – up from one in 440 in the previous week and the highest level since the week to February 27.
The increase has caused leading doctors to urge the Government to keep some restrictions in place in England after July 19 in a bid to stem the rate of infection.