Prime Minister Boris Johnson will develop plans for “booster” vaccinations as he warns that the Covid-19 pandemic is “far from over”.
At a press conference on Tuesday (14.
Mr Johnson said, “The pandemic is far from over, but thanks to our phenomenal vaccine program, new treatments and tests, we can live with the virus without significantly restricting our freedoms.”
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Leading up to the statement, Mr Johnson said, “I will have a clear plan for the fall and winter when the virus has a natural benefit to protect the profits we make.”
Downing Street admitted Monday that further lockdowns could be considered as a “last resort” if necessary. However, the Boris Johnson spokesman said: “We don’t see anything to suggest our NHS is overwhelmed and so there is no question of taking these measures.”
There have been reports that local or regional lockdowns could be reintroduced, but the Prime Minister’s spokesman considered this unlikely. The spokesman noted that the government had abandoned the regional restrictions policy it had applied last year and that recent measures have been nationwide.
Mr Johnson will develop an “fall and winter plan” for dealing with Covid-19, with an emphasis on vaccines as the first line of defense, supported by testing, public health advice and a deviating surveillance system.
In England, deaths and hospital admissions have remained relatively stable over the past month, and Downing Street says this shows that vaccines have been very effective. An analysis by health officials found that vaccinations had prevented 24,702,000 infections and 112,300 deaths as of August 27.
The government has now received the final recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization on a booster program that involves giving a third dose of vaccine to people who have already received two vaccinations. The Prime Minister will set out in a press conference at 4 p.m. how the program will be implemented for the most vulnerable. Health Minister Sajid Javid will also present the plans in a statement to the House of Commons.
The booster program is separate from plans to give a third dose to people with weak immune systems.
Meanwhile, the UK’s four chief medical officers said Monday that children ages 12-15 should be offered a first dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to reduce possible transmission in schools.
People aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week, Health Minister Sajid Javid has confirmed. Healthy school-age children aged 12-15 receive their COVID-19 vaccination primarily at their school with alternative offerings for those who are home-schooled, safe facilities or specialized mental health facilities.
Parental, guardian or caregiver consent is obtained from vaccination staff prior to vaccination, in line with existing school vaccination programs.
Mr Javid said, “I have accepted the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation to extend vaccination to those ages 12-15 – to protect young people from contracting COVID-19, reduce transmission in schools, and students keep in the classroom.
“I am very grateful for the technical advice I received from the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee and the UK Chief Medical Officers.
“Our pre-eminent NHS stands ready to push the launch of the vaccine for this group with the same urgency that we have had at any point in our vaccination program.”
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