UK secures 60,000,000 extra Pfizer doses for booster jabs in autumn
Nearly 34 million people across the UK have their first Covid jabs but ‘the fight isn’t over’, Matt Hancock said today (Picture: EPA/Reuters)

The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine to be used as part of a booster campaign in autumn, Matt Hancock has confirmed.

Nearly 34 million people have received their first jab and seven in 10 people have coronavirus antibodies, but officials have been planning booster shots for over a year now.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, the health secretary said ‘encouraging results’ were emerging from real-world vaccine data – but warned of the threat new variants could pose.

He told the public ‘harrowing’ scenes from India act as ‘a stark reminder this isn’t over’.

Mr Hancock said: ‘The biggest risk to progress is the risk posed by a new variant. So we’re working on our plans for booster shots too. And this is the final thing I want to talk about.

‘To keep us safe and free here while we get this disease under control across the whole world, we have been working on a programme of booster shots again 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 secured a further 60 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

‘They will be used alongside others as part of our booster shot programme later this year.

UK secures extra 60 million doses of Pfizer jab

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‘And that is all about protecting the progress that 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 so we can keep the virus under control while we take the steps safely back to normal life.’

The British Government has pledged to offer further support and equipment to India as the Covid crisis spirals out of control over there.

Scientists are studying if current vaccines offer protection against a so-called ‘double mutant’ variant suspected to be partly to blame for India’s dramatic surge in cases. More than 100 cases have been found in the UK.

Mr Hancock told the press conference: ‘Everyone across this whole United Kingdom stands side-by-side with the people of India in these troubled times, because in this battle against coronavirus we are all on the same side – this fight is a global fight.

‘And when other nations face their hour of need, as we’ve faced our hour of need here at home, we’ll be there.’

The UK is now seeing ‘very low levels’ of Covid, comparable to numbers seen last September, England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told reporters.

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