‘Bringing back our freedom!’ UK secures 60 million Pfizer vaccines for booster programme
Hancock: 60 million Pfizer doses secured for ‘booster’ programme
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The Health Secretary announced at a televised Downing Street briefing Britain is already taking steps to bolster the UK’s protection against coronavirus ahead of an anticipated winter surge. Work is already underway to adapt the vaccines currently being administered to ensure they offer maximum protection against mutations of the original strain.
There are concerns variants first identified in Brazil and South Africa are resistant to the jabs.
“The vaccine is helping us to bring back our freedom, and we must protect this progress.
“The biggest risk to that progress is the risk posed by a new variant, so we’re working on our plans for booster shots,” Mr Hancock said this evening.
“To keep us safe and free here while we get this disease across the whole world, we have been working on a programme of booster shots for over a year now.
“And we’ve backed some of the only clinical trials in the world looking specifically at booster shots.
“I’m delighted to be able to tell you that we’ve been able to secure a further 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be used alongside others as part of our booster shot programme later this year.
“And that is all about protecting the progress we’ve made.
“We have a clear route out of this crisis but this is no time for complacency, it’s a time for caution while we take the steps safely back to normal life.”
The extra 60 million doses mean the UK has secured a total of 517 million Covid vaccines in total.
Mr Hancock’s announcement on the third round of injections comes as new data from Public Health England shows that one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine reduces household transmission of the virus by up to half.
So far nearly 34 million Brits have received a first dose of a life-saving jab, with a quarter of all adults – 13.5 million – having received the necessary second injection to provide full protection.
It means the UK remains on course to have given a first dose of a jab to all adults by the end of July.
Yesterday the NHS started inviting over 42 to book a vaccine appointment, with over-40s expected to be able to get an injection by the end of the week.
Exact details on how the booster programme will be delivered are due to be set out by the Government at a later date.
The purchase of the extra doses has also been welcomed by Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.
He said: “We are doing everything we can to make sure the most vulnerable are protected from Covid-19 now and in the future.
“Our brilliant Vaccines Taskforce has secured an extra 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to support our booster programme, which will be developed in line with the advice of our experts.
“In the meantime, we are making great progress with our vaccination rollout and I urge everybody to get their vaccines as soon as they are eligible.”
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