Boosters for 35m are set to begin this month: Vulnerable patients and the over-50s could be included in rollout of third Covid vaccine dose
- Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said boosters are vital for UK to live with Covid
- Added NHS is aiming to deliver third dose more rapidly that initial spring rollout
- However, ministers are still waiting on final recommendations from the JCVI
- Zahawi said those given third jab are likely to be over-50s or clinically vulnerable
Around 35million Britons will get third doses in a rapid booster programme beginning later this month, the vaccines minister said yesterday.
Nadhim Zahawi said the top-up doses would be crucial in allowing the UK to learn to live with Covid and preventing future lockdowns.
He said the NHS was aiming to deliver third doses even more rapidly than during the initial rollout this spring – when around 400,000 people were jabbed each day.
Around 35million Britons will get third doses in a rapid booster programme beginning later this month, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi (pictured) said yesterday
But ministers are still waiting for final recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) before confirming who will get boosters and which vaccine brands should be used.
Mr Zahawi said the Government hoped be ‘boosting around 35million’, likely to include all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable.
He added: ‘It is through the booster programme that I hope… we can transition the virus from pandemic to endemic status and deal with it year in, year out.’
The NHS had been primed to offer third doses to over-50s at the start of this week but it was pushed back because the JCVI was waiting for trial data – due in the next few days – before it gives the programme the green light.
So far only 500,000 patients with very weak immune systems have been told they will get third jabs.
The programme would prioritise over-70s, health and social care workers and those with underlying health conditions. All over-50s would also get the third jab.
Pictured: A teenager is given a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Reading Festival last month. The NHS is aiming to deliver third doses even more rapidly than during the initial rollout this spring – when around 400,000 people were jabbed each day
Pictured: A graph showing the progress of Britain’s Covid vaccine rollout
Ministers have been criticised for failing to ‘get on with’ giving booster shots, with fears this could allow an autumn surge.
The delay means the UK is lagging behind many leading nations including the US, where an aggressive campaign of boosters has helped curb hospital cases.
n Four in five people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, figures by the UK’s four health agencies show.
A total of 43,535,098 second doses have been delivered since the rollout began nine months ago. An estimated 88.8 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had one dose.
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