Covid booster jabs could be introduced for over-70s

Audrey Burton, 97, receiving her COVID-19 vaccination at the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in No

Over-70s could be given booster jabs in the autumn to protect against new coronavirus variants - Credit: Danielle Booden

Norfolk and Waveney's most vulnerable and elderly could be given booster injections in a bid to protect against emerging coronavirus variants. 

Nadhim Zahawi, the government's vaccine minister, said additional jabs could be administered as soon as September. 

Colin Morrison was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture

Over-70s could be given booster jabs in the autumn to protect against new coronavirus variants - Credit: Ian Burt

They could go to the country's top four priority groups, which includes over-70s and those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable.

Residents in care homes for older adults, as well as frontline health and social care workers, would also receive further protection. 

Asked by the Telegraph when the booster programme would begin, Mr Zahawi said: "The most likely date will be September.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

Nadhim Zahawi, the government's vaccine minister - Credit: PA

"Jonathan Van-Tam (the deputy chief medical officer) thinks that if we are going to see a requirement for a booster jab to protect the most vulnerable, it would be around September."

Mr Zahawi was said to have added that up to eight different jabs could be available by the autumn, including one which guards against three different variants in a single dose. 

A number will reportedly be manufactured in the UK, potentially easing the pressure on supply amid tensions with the European Union as it faces shortages from AstraZeneca.

Ministers are already facing pressure to protect the success of the UK's vaccination programme against new strains originating overseas

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The Guardian reports that officials met on Friday to consider expanding the travel 'red list', which enforces hotel quarantine upon return. 

Labour's shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: "The government is yet again doing too little, too late, to secure our borders against Covid - and it's the British people that will pay the price.

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The large-scale Covid vaccination centre at King's Lynn Corn Exchange - Credit: Ian Burt

"Ministers need to do everything possible to stop new variants reaching the UK - and move to a comprehensive hotel quarantine system now."

Norfolk and Waveney's own vaccination rollout has produced impressive results, with more than 60pc of adults having received their first dose as of March 21

The area has the fifth-highest vaccination rate in the country and, in the latest seven-day period, another 68,359 jabs were administered. 

More than 32,000 patients in Norfolk and Waveney have already had second shots.

People queue for entry into the Vaccine Centre at Connaught Hall, Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRAD

The large-scale Covid vaccination centre at Connaught Hall in Attleborough - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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