UK buys 35million more Pfizer Covid vaccines for NEXT winter

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UK buys 35million more Pfizer Covid jabs for NEXT winter to 'future proof' country with booster vaccines for 'years to come'

Some 35million Pfizer doses will arrive in the UK from June 2022Doses will be used for any future booster drives, the Department of Health saidJabs will ensure the country 'remains ahead of the virus for years to come'

By Emily Craig Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 08:33 EDT, 23 August 2021 | Updated: 08:57 EDT, 23 August 2021

The UK has ordered 35million more doses of Pfizer's Covid jab to dish out as boosters next year.

The injections will arrive in the second half of 2022 and 'future proof' the country against the virus and any future variants, the Department of Health and Social Care announced today.

The additional doses ordered for next year - which would be enough to give third doses to more than half of the population - will be used for any future booster programmes and ensure the country 'remains ahead of the virus for years to come', the DHSC said. 

Some 89.3million jabs have been administered in the UK so far, which has been enough to give 87.7 per cent of over-16s first injections and 76.7 per cent second jabs. 

Ministers instructed the NHS to prepare for a Covid vaccine booster programme this autumn, with third doses expected to be given at the same time as flu jabs to over-50s, those with underlying health conditions, as well as health and social care staff.

Up to 32million could be offered boosters under this plan, but it depends on final advice due in September from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which guides ministers on the roll-out.

But one member of the JCVI hinted on Friday that boosters could just be given to the most vulnerable in the country, rather than entire age groups.

Pictured: a woman gets a dose of the Pfizer Covid jab at a mass vaccination centre in Doncaster in June

The vaccines have saved 95,200 lives in the UK, according to Government estimates.

And they have prevented 82,100 hospitalisations among the over-65s and 23.9million infections in England, according to Public Health England.

Mr Javid said: 'The UK’s phenomenal vaccination programme is providing tens of millions of people with protection from Covid, 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, 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 nature of the UK's booster plans for this year will not be revealed until next month.

But some scientists have said vaccines should be used to administer first doses to people in other countries before third doses are offered in the UK. 

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, one of the scientists behind the Oxford AstraZeneca jab and chair of the JCVI, said last week: 'The greatest priority for vaccines in the world is for those who remain without protection but are at high risk of dying from Covid, including older adults, those with health conditions and health care workers, wherever they live.

'Those with zero doses have a lot to gain from receiving a vaccine today and so should be ahead of those who are already two doses up.'

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