Julia Hartley-Brewer clashes with Liz Truss over covid restrictions
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People will have the option to have their third Covid jab between September to December this year, in hope to avoid another spike in cases over winter.
The UK’s vaccination programme has been a great success so far, with more than 34 million taking up the offer to have their first Covid jab.
There has also been more than 15 million people who have had their second vaccination.
Trials are currently underway to assess the most effective way to immunise the most vulnerable age brackets.
According to government sources, cited by The Times, two trials are underway and are being supervised by chief medical officer Chris Whitty.
The first trial – taking place in Porton Down, Wiltshire – is reportedly utilising vaccines specifically modified to tackle new Covid variants.
Meanwhile, the second trial involves participants who are given a third Covid jab (that is already in use).
Covid jabs already in use:
An unnamed government minister told the paper: “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 into the background like any other illness in circulation.”
It’s said that the third Covid jab could be offered to the public alongside the flu vaccine at the same time.
The Health Secretary announced there will be an investment of £29 million for new lab facilities and a new research hub.
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At present, around 700 blood samples weekly are tested at Porton Down to monitor the effectiveness of Covid vaccines.
With more money being ploughed into the scientific facility, the aim is to test up to 3,000 blood samples weekly.
Matt Hancock explained: “We’ve backed UK science from the very start of this pandemic.
“This multi-million pound funding for a state-of-the-art vaccine testing facility at Porton Down will enable us to further future-proof the country from the threat of new variants.”
Vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi added: “Our vaccination programme has so far saved thousands of lives.
“But it’s vital we put in place robust support for the programme for the future.
“This funding will allow us to increase the testing capacity at Porton Down with a new innovative facility.
“[It will] ensure our COVID-19 vaccines are effective against any future variants of concern.”
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