UK has 'more than enough' Covid vaccines for everyone

The Government has ordered more doses of coronavirus vaccines than are needed to give the entire UK two injections each.

Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference this afternoon the country will have more than 400 million doses if all the jabs are approved – more than enough to vaccinate the population of nearly 67 million people.

‘We didn’t start this pandemic with a large scale, on shore vaccine manufacturing capability so we’re building one all across the United Kingdom,’ the health secretary said.

‘And the vaccine programme just goes to show how important it is, the whole UK working as one, together.

‘We now have over 400 million doses of vaccines on order – this is obviously more than the UK population needs.

‘And my attitude has always been we protect every UK citizen as fast as we can – and at the same time we’re generous around the world.’

He stressed he is ‘happy’ with the AstraZeneca supply contract – despite the EU being embroiled in a row where it claimed it is entitled to more jabs than it has been supplied with.

Mr Hancock said the UK is playing its part in a ‘global effort’ to protect the world from Covid-19, in particular because the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is currently provided at cost.

‘We will protect UK supply and will play our part to ensure that the whole world can get the jab,’ he added.

It comes as Mr Hancock revealed one in 60 adults in the UK have now been vaccinated against coronavirus.

‘It’s a mammoth effort,’ said the health secretary, ‘I know just how much these jabs mean to people and I’m so grateful for all the message that we get, all the picture that I’m sent of people being vaccinated.

‘It fills me with pride that so many people are doing so much to help for this rollout to happen so smoothly and I want to say thanks to you all.’

He further announced the country has just ordered another 40 million doses of a new vaccine from Valneva – which saw manufacture start last week as its trials progress.

If approved, the Valneva jab will be manufactured in Livingston in Scotland. The AstraZeneca vaccine is produced in Oxford, Staffordshire and Wrexham, and the Novavax vaccine will be manufactured in Teesside if approved.

Mr Hancock added: ‘As we have all along, we’ve invested early and at-risk before we know for sure if it will come good because from the start we’ve taken a no-regrets attitude to backing vaccines.

‘We’ve tried to leave nothing on the table.’

He also confirmed the full list of areas in England where door-to-door testing is taking place to try and stop the spread of a mutant strain first detected in South Africa.

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