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23 Aug, 2021 13:34

UK secures deal for another 35mn Covid vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech to ‘future-proof’ against further coronavirus waves

UK secures deal for another 35mn Covid vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech to ‘future-proof’ against further coronavirus waves

The UK has secured a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for 35 million doses of its Covid-19 jab to “future-proof” the country against potential emerging variants of coronavirus, as well as in preparation for the nation’s booster scheme.

On Monday, the British government issued a statement confirming its latest agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech to purchase the additional millions of doses, which are to arrive in the second half of next year. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the move would help “to future-proof our vaccine programme, ensuring we have plans in place to keep the nation safe for years to come.”

As per the government statement, the deal comes as the UK attempts to stay on top of the pandemic and “build this wall of defence from Covid-19,” including any “future booster programmes” to provide vaccine top-ups for the population.

The UK intends to roll out its booster programme later this year to those more at-risk from the virus. Information on who is eligible to receive a third dose is expected to be released in September, once the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation finalises its decision.

Also on rt.com Third jab’s a charm: Almost 9 in 10 Britons ‘likely or very likely’ to come forward for Covid booster shot, survey finds

The signing of the contract coincides with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus once again imploring high-income nations to hold off on administering boosters until there’s better coverage among people living in poorer countries. While visiting Hungary on Monday, the WHO chief warned that stronger variants could emerge as a result of countries being under-vaccinated.

Several nations have already launched vaccine booster schemes, such as Serbia and Hungary. Israel began offering its citizens a third shot at the end of July, starting with elderly members of the population first and moving downwards in age.

The UK has so far vaccinated almost 88% of its 66 million population with at least one dose, while nearly 77% is fully inoculated. According to Monday’s statement, the British government “is committed to supporting global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and improving access to vaccines,” and will donate 100 million doses within the next year.

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