COVID-19: Adults could get fourth jab as deal agreed for 114m extra vaccine doses

The news comes with less than half of over-50s in Liverpool having had their first boosters dose.

The Government has announced a deal for 114 million additional COVID-19 vaccines in a move that brings a fourth jab for British adults a step closer.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the deals for the Moderna and Pfizer jabs would “future proof” the country’s vaccine programme.

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The deal includes 60 million additional doses of the Moderna vaccine and 54 million more Pfizer/BioNTech doses.

Less than half of over-50s in Liverpool have had booster

The news of a possible fourth dose comes as data reveals just two in five people aged 50 and over in Liverpool have received their first booster.

Adults in the age group have been eligible for a top-up dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since mid-September, when the NHS launched its national booster jab campaign.

NHS England data, published for the first time, shows 76,514 people aged 50 and over in Liverpool had received a booster jab or third vaccine dose by November 21.

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That’s at least 44% of the age group, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service.

Across the North West as a whole, around 53% of over-50s had received a booster jab or third dose by November 21.

114m doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023

The additional doses secured by the Government, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, have been confirmed amid concerns surrounding the Omicron variant.

The deals also include access to modified vaccines if they are needed to combat any variants of concern, The Department of Health and Social Care said.

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It added that the new deals for 114 million doses are in addition to 35 million additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech ordered in August for delivery in the second half of next year, and the 60 million Novavax and 7.5 million GSK/Sanofi doses expected in 2022.

The department said the Government already has enough supply of both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for the expanded booster programme.

Will annual COVID-19 boosters be needed?

There is currently uncertainty over the need for future campaigns with some scientists suggesting that COVID-19 will need to be kept at bay with repeated vaccination campaigns.

Others have said it is too early to tell whether annual boosters will be needed.

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However, the deal suggests British adults could be offered a fourth dose - with the additional vaccines more than enough to cover the population.

All adults to be offered booster shot by end of January

The deal comes after officials announced that all adults in the UK would be offered a booster shot before the end of January amid concerns about the Omicron variant.

Vaccination experts advising the Government have expressed preference for the mRNA vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna.

Trial data suggests booster doses are generally well tolerated and provide a substantial increase in vaccine-induced immune responses, in particular, and that mRNA vaccines provide a strong booster effect.

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‘These new deals will future proof the Great British vaccination effort’

Mr Javid said: “Thanks to the Vaccines Taskforce, we have an excellent track record of securing the vaccines the country needs to keep this virus at bay.

“These new deals will future proof the Great British vaccination effort – which has so far delivered more than 115 million first, second and booster jabs across the UK – and will ensure we can protect even more people in the years ahead.

“This is a national mission and our best weapon to deal with this virus and its variants is to get jabs in arms – so when you are called forward, get the jab and get boosted.”

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