By mid-September, all adults across the UK should have had the opportunity to receive both doses of a Covid vaccine
By mid-September, all adults across the UK should have had the chance to receive both doses of a Covid vaccine, the government has said.
In order to achieve this, the gap between jabs will be reduced from 12 to eight weeks for all under 40s, the health secretary said.
Giving a statement in the Commons on Monday, Sajid Javid said: “Today, even though cases are heading upwards in line with what we expected, hospitalisations are increasing at a much lower rate and deaths are at just 1 per cent of the figure we saw at the peak.
“Our vaccines are building a wall of protection against hospitalisation, and jab by jab, brick by brick that wall is getting higher.
“We are reinforcing our vaccine wall of defence further still. I can tell the House that we are reducing the dose interval for under 40s from 12 weeks to eight, which will mean that every adult should have had the chance to be double jabbed by mid-September,” he said.
The health secretary added that to date, 86 per cent of adults in the UK had received at least one jab, and 64 per cent were fully vaccinated.
England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) was “rightly taking time” to consider all the data and make a determination as to whether children should also receive coronavirus vaccinations.
He said that there would need to be “even greater confidence about the safety because the risk benefit is potentially therefore going to be more marginal,” as children tend not to suffer serious complications with Covid-19.
“What we’re really trying to work out at this point in time,” he said, “is the relative protection that the vaccines provide for children. But I think we’re very confident that vaccines would protect children to a high degree.”
Britain’s medicines regulator approved the Pfizer/BioNTech jab for 12- to 15-year-olds last month, but the government will continue to wait on advice from the JCVI before making any decisions around vaccinating children, expected to be issued later this month.