Million’s of people have fled Ukraine so far, raising fears refugees will carry Covid with them, just as returning WWI soldiers spread the Spanish flu. Only 35% of Ukrainians have been double-vaccinated, but so many Brits are triple vaccinated, we should be leading the race to accept refugees, says expert.
The London Medical Laboratory is calling on the Government to ensure Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK have all the jabs they need as swiftly as possible. It says the UK is best placed to receive refugees fleeing the war, because 85% of Brits over the age of 12 have been double-vaccinated and 67% triple-vaccinated, but steps must be taken internationally to stop a global increase in cases because of the war.
The leading Covid testing expert, Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at the London Medical Laboratory, says: ‘In 1918, soldiers returning home from World War I spread the last serious pandemic, known as the Spanish flu, worldwide. The crowded conditions of military camps in the United States and in the trenches of the Western Front in Europe were perfect breeding grounds and around 500 million people caught the virus and up to 100 million died. Now Putin’s war could spread a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as 3 million Ukrainians have already fled to other countries.
‘Ukraine had a problem with the pandemic even before Russia invaded. Only around 35% of Ukrainian adults have been double-vaccinated and 112,000 Ukrainians have died of the virus. However, because so many Brits have been triple-jabbed, Britain should welcome Ukrainian refugees. We are one of the populations that would come to the least harm, if there were to be a spread of the virus.
‘Putin could end up with considerably more deaths on his hands than the estimated 1,500 civilians and 10,000 soldiers on both sides who have died so far. Ukrainians are rightly fleeing from the shelling and shooting, but this is likely to be the biggest movement of people since World War II, and viruses such as Covid and flu take advantage of these circumstances to spread.
‘Right now, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova are leading the race to take in the millions of refugees displaced in Putin’s war. Poland has taken 1.7 million refugees, Slovakia 204,000 and Moldova 107,000, for example. But only 70.6% of Poles, 64.5% of Slovakians and 39.5% of Moldovans have been double-vaccinated, with vanishingly small numbers from any of these populations triple-vaccinated. In contrast, the UK has reportedly granted just 1,000 visas so far, despite the fact we have one of the highest levels of double and triple vaccinations in the world.
‘However, under the new Homes for Ukraine scheme, the Government now says there will be no limit to the number of Ukrainian refugees who can live with UK host families. Although incredibly slow to initiate this, the Government reportedly says that it hopes tens of thousands of displaced people will benefit from the new scheme, with the first arriving next week. As one of the most widely vaccinated populations in the world, it makes sense that Britain plays its part in taking these refugees as soon as possible. People who have had their top-up vaccinations are less likely to catch Covid initially, should any cases be imported, and will be considerably less likely to develop severe symptoms.
‘Even without the arrival of refugees, however, we must not be complacent in our own war against Covid. In the last seven days, we have seen a significant 56.3% rise in Covid-19 cases, as the even more transmissible BA.2 variant spreads. There has been a 16.9% increase in hospital admissions and a small 2.8% rise in deaths, though these lag some weeks behind new cases.
‘We argued the Government was hasty in ending all Covid-19 precautions such as wearing masks in stores and on transport, and that decision could yet come home to roost. There may also be a lessening in antibody levels as top-up jabs become slowly less effective. It’s a further argument against ending free Covid tests on 1 April, which will most likely lead to an increase in cases.
‘Even with this uptick in cases, however, the UK is still entirely capable of dealing with the arrival of refugees and we should speed up their entry. Our hospitals are well-placed to manage an increase in case numbers if that were to happen, though London Medical Laboratory is calling on the Government to ensure these refugees have all the jabs they need as swiftly as possible to guard against any influx of cases.
‘For anyone concerned about their antibody levels and how effective their inoculation has been, taking a quantitative Covid antibody test is recommended. The new generation blood tests available from London Medical Laboratory are highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out, either at home through the post, or at one of the many pharmacies and drop-in clinics that offer this test across London and the southeast. For full details see: https://www.privatecoronavirustests.com/product/igg-quantitative