Booster plan confirmed – UK orders 35m extra Pfizer vaccines

Covid: Study on vaccine effectiveness released in UK

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The UK coronavirus vaccination programme has been hailed as one of the successful around the globe. While many countries are still undertaking efforts to provide vaccines to a majority of its population, the UK has now turned its focus to the upcoming booster programme which is scheduled to begin September.

The UK has now agreed a contract for 35 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, to be delivered from the second half of next year.

The Government has said these doses will be important to delivering on its vaccine booster targets.

The Vaccine Taskforce has contracts in place with multiple vaccine manufacturers in order to meet its plans for the booster programme. 

The NHS is planning to roll out a Covid booster programme from September, giving those most at risk from coronavirus extra protection ahead of winter.

According to interim recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), other people who will be prioritised for a booster dose are likely to be:

  • People whose immune systems are not working properly, for example because they are taking immunosuppressant medications
  • Everyone aged 70 and above
  • Adults (16 years and over) who are clinically extremely vulnerable (the former shielding group)
  • People living in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers.

An extra 60 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were ordered in April as part of the Government’s plans for a vaccination booster programme in the autumn.

But the Government has now altered its original order of the Janssen single-dose vaccine – dropping it to 20 million from an original order of 30 million doses.

The move was made due to the “unprecedented scale and pace” of the vaccination programme.

Government ministers have announced another vaccine deal with biopharmaceutical company CureVac to develop vaccines against future variants – the deal involves an order of 50 million doses due to be delievered later this year if required.

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Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid celebrated the news saying it will help to “keep the nation safe for years to come”.

said: “The UK’s phenomenal vaccination programme is providing tens of millions of people with protection from COVID-19, saving 95,200 lives and preventing 82,100 hospitalisations in the over 65s in England alone.

“While we continue to build this wall of defence from COVID-19, it’s also vital we do everything we can to protect the country for the future too – whether that’s from the virus as we know it or new variants.

“I am pleased we’ve reached this agreement with Pfizer for more doses as part of our robust preparations to future-proof our vaccine programme, ensuring we have plans in place to keep the nation safe for years to come.”

The UK has thus far vaccinated 47,643,064 people with a first dose of the vaccine.

An additional 41,688,636 people are now fully vaccinated.

This equates to a totla of 87.7 percent of the UK adult population who have received at least one dose and 76.7 percent who have received two doses.

All UK adults aged 18 and over are welcome to get the vaccine now – with vulnerable children aged 12 and over also being invited to have the jab.

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