The UK government has been charging full speed ahead with their vaccination programme. As of this week, over 50 million jabs have been administered, with 15 million people fully vaccinated in the country. The government has already started planning out the next phase of the programme—booster shots. In autumn, everyone over the age of 50 will be offered a third booster shot to avoid a possible winter wave.
Currently, researchers are working on two trials for the booster jabs that will protect people from both existing and new variants. The first test is being done with vaccines that have been specifically modified to combat new variants, while the second has been using Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for the third jab. The trials are being supervised by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and so far the early findings have been showing signs that both the approaches will be able to control the threat from all types of variants. A senior government officer told The Times:
We will have a lot to say about the booster programme soon. It's looking really positive so far.
We think that the level of protection in the population to any variant will be so high that by Christmas, Covid-19 should have just faded away into the background like any other illness in circulation. So much so that we don't think there will be any need to give a booster shot to younger people because transmission will have got so low.
The booster jab will reportedly be given to the public while they get their annual flu vaccine. Patients will be receiving one jab in each arm.
Abundance of jabs
Meanwhile, the government has been doing everything in their power to increase their supply of COVID vaccines, which will in turn guarantee the success of the booster programme. Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the UK is buying 60 million more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech bringing their total order to 100 million. Hancock said:
These further 60 million doses will be used, alongside others, as part of our booster programme from later this year, so we can protect the progress that we've all made.