A plan to provide a booster vaccine to everyone over the age of 50 was announced on Tuesday. It aims to prevent a new surge from overwhelming the National Health Service and avoid another blockade as part of the UK’s winter coronavirus strategy.
Health Minister Sajid Javid told parliamentarians Tuesday afternoon that additional vaccinations would begin to be offered to the group starting next week. This decision follows the announcement on Monday that a single vaccination will be provided to children aged 12 to 15 years.
As part of the winter plan, the government has not completely eliminated another blockade and is presenting it as a last resort to be considered only when England faces new and highly infectious varieties. Authorities are trying to avoid the type of blockage that has prevented people from meeting family and friends for months, even in most outdoor environments, while preventing another catastrophic winter surge that hit the country last year. is.
Javid said the government is preparing “Plan B” as an emergency in the event of a significant increase in incidents, as some experts fear it will happen in the winter. This includes reintroducing the requirement to wear face covers in indoor spaces and public transport, and advising people to work from home when possible.
On Sunday, the government said it would not proceed with a vaccine passport program that would force British nightclubs and several other places to check the status of people trying to enter. However, the option to revive the strategy when things get worse remains open.
“Since the pandemic began, the association between cases, hospitalizations and deaths has weakened significantly, and Covid-19 deaths have been mercilessly lower than in previous waves,” Javid told lawmakers. “Still, be aware that autumn and winter are favorable conditions for Covid-19 and other seasonal viruses.”
On Tuesday, a government scientific adviser said it was safe to “co-administer” additional vaccinations along with influenza vaccinations for the elderly. Javid told the BBC that he almost ruled out another strict restriction and wasn’t off the table, but “I don’t know how to get to another blockage.”
Over the past year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has often faced pressure from a group of Conservative libertarian lawmakers calling for the abolition of coronavirus rules.
In July, Johnson provided most of what they wanted and relaxed most legal coronavirus restrictions on what the tabloid media called “Free Day.”
According to government data, the UK currently has an average of about 30,000 new coronavirus cases and about 1,000 hospitalizations each day. Much less than some experts predicted 100,000, government officials know that when children return to school and the weather worsens from autumn to winter, it could surge even further. increase.
On Monday, UK health officials questioned whether young people would benefit significantly from shots, despite reservations by some medical professionals, a high-dose coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years. Approved the inoculation program.
The move, announced by chief medical officers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, followed weeks of uncertainty as to whether children of that age group would be allowed to receive shots.