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21 Jun, 2021 12:19

UK preparing for autumn booster shots against Covid-19, says minister, as CureVac fails and Novavax shines in trials

UK preparing for autumn booster shots against Covid-19, says minister, as CureVac fails and Novavax shines in trials

The UK health minister has said the government will shortly be announcing its plans for nationwide booster shots against Covid-19 in the autumn, as a trial of different combinations nears its conclusion.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the authorities were currently trialing a number of vaccine combinations that could boost Britons’ immunity against the novel coronavirus and its many variants. 

“In the next few weeks, when we get the clinical data through on what’s the most effective combinations to have … then we’ll set out all the details for the booster programme for the autumn,” Hancock stated.

The UK’s Cov-Boost trial, which tests a variety of vaccine combos, has become increasingly relevant, given the current prevalence of the Indian virus variant, known as Delta. 

Also on rt.com Novavax Covid-19 vaccine ‘extremely effective,’ says CEO, 100mn doses per month to be produced by end of Q3 after successful trial

Scientists, including Dr Susan Hopkins, strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England, have warned of the prospect of further lockdowns later in the year. “I can’t predict the future – it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point,” Hopkins told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. 

On Sunday, the day before the UK’s lockdown was originally scheduled to end, the country registered 9,284 Covid-19 cases, many of which are the Delta variant. 

The UK had hoped that CureVac, a German biotech firm, would provide a booster jab for the country this autumn. However, last week, the company’s trial revealed that its vaccine was only 47% effective. 

Meanwhile, US firm Novavax published extremely positive trial data last week, with its vaccine proving more than 90% effective against a variety of virus variants. The jab will be produced in the UK, if granted approval. 

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