Britons in their 30s are set to be invited for Covid vaccines within days with officials close to securing tens of millions of Pfizer jabs.
The new order of 40million roughly doubles the UK’s original order and will arrive in time for a third booster dose to be given to elderly people in the autumn.
If the negotiations are finalised, the extra stock could also be used for people in their twenties who will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Britons in their 30s are set to be invited for Covid vaccines within days with officials close to securing tens of millions of Pfizer jabs
By the end of this week, people in their thirties will start to be invited for their vaccine appointments, according to The Sunday Times.
It had previously been projected that the age group would have to wait until the second half of May but the rollout is running ahead of schedule.
More than half of the population in the UK have now received their first dose, of which 12million people have received their second.
Nearly half of people in their forties have also been inoculated with their first dose.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Imminsation (JCVI) is still discussing whether people in their thirties will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine or an alternative.
The jab has been linked to rare cases of blood clots in young people and those under 30 will receive a different jab.
Officials believe the AstraZeneca vaccine will still be used for people in their thirties to keep up the pace of the rollout but members are divided over the announcement which will come this week.
More than half of the population in the UK have now received their first dose, of which 12million people have received their second
A source said: ‘It’s important to realise the JCVI is a very big group and there are lots of different voices.’
The UK was the first country to place Pfizer orders last summer and was later the first to grant approval and start the rollout.
Half of the original 40million order has been delivered so far but officials are looking to boost stocks due to blood clot fears over the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs.
Last month, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said a booster programme would likely start in September.
It will be administered to 10.3million over-70s and care home residents as well as the clinically extremely vulnerable.
Care and health workers may also be included in the programme aimed to give long-lasting immunity.
The Government said there had been a further 1,712 lab-confirmed cases in the UK – a drop of 9 per cent compared to last week’s figure of 1,882.
Today 11 new deaths from the disease were recorded – a ten per cent increase on last Sunday’s figure of 10.
Data released today shows the number of Covid cases total 4,404,882 whilst the total number of Covid deaths within 28 days of a positive test has reached the tragic total of 127,428.
As of Friday April 23 the latest NHS data recorded 243 Covid patients who are currently on ventilation in hospital. As of Thursday April 22 there were 1,781 Covid patients being treated in hospital.
The latest figures come as the government announced Britain is to send more than 600 pieces of medical equipment to India following a huge surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the assistance package would include ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks.
It said the first of nine planeloads of kit would arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday.
In a statement, Boris Johnson said: ‘We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19.
‘Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.
Crowds of Londoners relax in the sunshine at Tower Bridge as temperatures reach 57F in parts of England and Wales today
MANCHESTER: Following a day of sunshine, crowds of people fill Cutting Room Square on Friday night in Ancoats, in the north of Manchester City Centre
‘We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against (this) pandemic.’
Earlier today shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called on Boris Johnson’s Government to ‘step forward and show real leadership’, as they said the ‘rapid spread of infections has placed India’s health system under unprecedented strain’.
In a letter to their counterparts, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the two Labour frontbenchers said the images coming from India were ‘truly haunting’.
They said the ‘tragedy of this situation will be felt particularly acutely here in the UK among the Indian diaspora, who will understandably be deeply concerned about family and friends’.
They said: ‘Given our deep links with India, the UK cannot remain on the sidelines.
More than half of the UK’s total population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, figures show. NHS England data up to April 23 shows that of the 38,189,536 total doses given in England so far, 28,102,852 were first doses – a rise of 107,656 on the previous day
‘This pandemic has been a stark reminder of the interconnected nature of our world and the impact events on the other side of the globe can have here in the UK.
‘Nowhere is safe until everywhere safe. The virus and its variants cannot be defeated by the individual efforts of nations alone.’
They called on the UK to show ‘leadership and forge agreements to remove barriers to vaccine distribution and supply’ and ‘extend the offer of British assistance to the Indian government’.
Ms Nandy and Mr Ashworth set out the critical areas in which British expertise, capacity and support could help, including:
- Supplies of liquid oxygen and canisters for people in hospital.
- Expertise in genome sequencing and epidemiology.
- Surplus therapeutic drugs and equipment.
- A commitment to share surplus doses of Covid-19 vaccine and support the Indian government in ramping up vaccine production and distribution to reach all parts of the country.
They said: ‘This virus does not respect national borders, and defeating it anywhere means defeating it everywhere.
‘We have already seen how quickly variants identified thousands of miles away have made it to British shores and limiting the spread of Covid-19 internationally is vital in safeguarding our own domestic security.
‘It is almost a year ago to the day that the Indian government, in response to the UK’s request for assistance, approved the export of almost three million packets of paracetamol to support our own fight against this virus.
‘Now is not the moment for the UK to shy away from our international obligations, but to step forward and show real leadership by assisting others in their time of need.’