UK secures 60 million extra Pfizer doses for autumn booster programme

28 April 2021, 17:12 | Updated: 29 April 2021, 08:07

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The UK has secured 60 million extra Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses for its booster programme in the autumn, Matt Hancock has announced.

The Government says the booster programme will be based on clinical need to ensure people have the "strongest possible protection against Covid-19" amid concerns over new variants.

The additional Pfizer jabs - which have been rolled out in the UK since December - will be used alongside other approved vaccines for the booster programme.

READ MORE: Prof Van-Tam warns of 'some twists and turns ahead' in UK's pandemic response

It comes as a new study from Public Health England (PHE) showed one dose of a vaccine can cut transmission of the virus by up to a half.

A total of 47,540,984 million vaccines have been administered in the UK so far, including 33,959,908 million first doses - 64.5% of all adults - and 13,581,076 million second doses - 25.8% of all adults.

On Tuesday, people aged 42 and over in England were called to come forward to get their vaccine.

Health Secretary Mr Hancock said during Wednesday's Downing Street press conference: "To keep us safe and free here, while we get this disease under control across the whole world, we have been working on a programme of booster shots for over a year now.

"And we've backed some of the only clinical trials in the world looking specifically at booster shots.

"I'm delighted to be able to tell you that we've secured a further 60 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be used alongside others as part of our booster shot programme later this year."

He added: "We have a clear route out of this crisis but this is no time for complacency, it’s a time for caution, so we can keep the virus under control while we take the steps safely back to normal life.

"So please remember the basics of hands face space and fresh air and crucially, if like me you get the call, join me and get the jab."

The Government says it will publish further details on the booster programme in due course, with the policy informed by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

It will also assess the results of clinical trials which have studied the use of different combinations of approved vaccines.

The UK has secured access to 517 million doses of eight Covid-19 vaccines so far. These are:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 100 million doses – including the additional 60 million doses
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Janssen for 30 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Valneva for 100 million doses
  • GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses
  • CureVac for 50 million doses 

Reviews are underway by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to assess the Janssen and Novavax vaccines.

Clinical trials are ongoing for the Valneva, GSK and Sanofi and CureVac jabs.