The U.K. is on track to vaccinate all people over age 50 by May. It’s already planning for a program of top-up vaccinations to fight new Covid variants from the autumn, officials said.
Work is already under way to develop a shot that will offer better protection against the South Africa variant, after a study suggested the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine had limited effect on mild Covid-19.
The government expects “probably an annual or a booster in the autumn and then an annual” dose of vaccines to be given “in the way we do with flu vaccinations,” Zahawi told the BBC on Sunday.
“You look at what variant of virus is spreading around the world, you rapidly produce a variant of vaccine, and then begin to vaccinate and protect the nation,” he said.
The U.K. is a month into its third national lockdown, with businesses shuttered and schools closed. With the economy already damaged by its deepest recession in more than 300 years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is racing to roll out enough vaccines to be able to begin lifting curbs next month.