UK PM Johnson to set out COVID-19 booster strategy under winter plan

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid (not pictured) in Downing Street, in London, Britain, September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday will unveil how Britain will roll out COVID-19 booster shots for the most vulnerable and elderly as part of his coronavirus strategy for the winter months.

Johnson’s government has already indicated it will scrap plans for vaccine passports to be required to get into nightclubs, end some of its emergency COVID powers and use lockdowns only as a last resort. read more

Instead, Johnson will lean on vaccines and testing to try and contain COVID-19 heading into autumn and winter, including a booster programme.

“The pandemic is far from over, but thanks to our phenomenal vaccine programme, new treatments and testing we are able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms,” Johnson said in a statement.

“Today I will set out a clear plan for the autumn and winter, when the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made.”

Britain has seen 134,000 COVID-19 deaths, and over 7 million cases. Johnson scrapped the last coronavirus restrictions in England in July, citing the more favourable conditions of the school summer holidays as he eyed what he characterised as a “return to normal”. read more

Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has previously given interim advice that elderly and vulnerable people would be the priority for any booster programme, and that it could start in September. read more

Johnson’s office said the government had now received final advice from the JCVI on the booster programme and Johnson, along with health minister Sajid Javid, would set out how the booster programme would be rolled out to the most vulnerable on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some leading scientists, including from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organisation, in an article in the Lancet medical journal on Monday said COVID-19 boosters are not yet needed for the general population.

Reporting by Alistair Smout
Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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