A program to refresh the coronavirus vaccine is “ready to go”, according to the government vaccines minister.
Nadhim Zahawi told MPs that the NHS is ready to roll out the third Covid vaccination, with the government awaiting approval from their scientific advisors.
Mr Zahawi made his comments after former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged additional doses of the vaccine to be distributed before the scientific advisors gave the OK.
Mr. Hunt said, “He will know that Israel shows that even a good vaccination program won’t stop the Delta variant from spiking hospital stays, but a booster program will lower those hospital stays in just two weeks.
“Given last year’s great lesson that early action can end the need for lockdowns, as has happened in Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and a number of other places, it is not a moment for ministers to say we understand what scientists want? to take our time, but we have a reasonable idea of what they are likely to recommend, so are we going to get on with this booster program before it’s too late? “
Mr. Zahawi replied, “The booster program is probably the most important piece of the puzzle that has yet to be found so that we can actually turn this pandemic, this virus, into an endemic status.
He added, “We are ready to go as soon as – Cov-Boost to be covered – we will be able to put in place a massive booster program.”
Earlier, Mr. Zahawi told MPs that it was “important” that the country continued to “fill the gaps in our defense and expand and deepen our defensive wall”.
It is already planned that more than half a million people will be offered another dose of the vaccine this month. However, this scheme is only intended for those who have a severely weakened immune system and are therefore most at risk from the coronavirus.
This program is separate from the booster program, which is expected to be announced shortly.