Sajid Javid has announced that the government is rushing to procure 114 million more COVID vaccines as scientists await data regarding the actual impact of the latest version.
While the deals were already on the table, the health secretary said ministers expedited the process of signing them because of Omicron’s state of emergency.
The agreement – which includes an additional 60 million ModernJabs and 54 million Pfizer-BioNtech doses to be delivered over the next year and into 2023 – will give Britain access to any modified vaccinations if they receive a new version of Omicron or any later. need to compete.
While there is uncertainty over the need for future vaccine campaigns, Mr Javid stressed the move “will be future proof of the Great British Vaccination Effort … and ensure that we can protect even more people in the years to come.” “.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the new deals are in addition to the 35 million additional doses Pfizer already ordered in August, slated for delivery in the second half of next year, as well as 60 million Novavax and 7.5 million GSK -Sanofi doses are expected sometime in 2022.
Both Moderna and Pfizer have ample supply for the expanded booster program announced by Boris Johnson this week, which will be offered for a third time by the end of January to all UK adults aged 18 and over.
Previously, the guidance was to limit these doses to older and vulnerable members of society, including those with weakened immune systems, but the new Omicron version forced ministers to rethink.
The Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI), which advises the government in its COVID vaccine rollout, has encouraged ministers to purchase mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna for the booster campaign.
Trial data suggest that booster doses are generally well tolerated and particularly provide a substantial increase in vaccine-induced immune responses, and that mRNA vaccines provide a strong booster effect.
In his statement, Mr Javid said: “Thanks to the Vaccine Taskforce, we have an excellent track record of securing the vaccines the country needs to keep this virus at bay.
“It’s a national mission and our best weapon to combat this virus and its variants is to get jabs in arms – so when you’re called forward, get jabs and boosts.”
It came hours after global health leaders questioned the need for a UK booster campaign, with the World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist indicating it was not the right “target” for leaders to focus on.
Soumya Swaminathan said, “Some countries are providing people with extra doses as a precaution because they have enough supplies and they are doing just that.”
,[But] There isn’t much evidence that everyone over the age of 18 or over any age is going to benefit from it.”
Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, echoed his colleague’s statement, previously telling reporters that he “didn’t know” of any evidence that offering booster jabs to the entire population would help healthy people. gets any more security.
“The primary objective, I think of all governments, should now be before Delta and O’Micron and others, is to ensure that all vulnerable individuals, older people, people with underlying conditions are offered the vaccine immediately so that To ensure that everyone has at least a primary course of vaccines,” he said during a press briefing.
DHSC, on the other hand, insists that “boosters are important”. Citing evidence from the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) first real-world study published in November, it said the third dose gives “over 90 percent protection” against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults over 50 – and therefore Keeps people extra safe.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /