UK eye COVID-19 boosters within the fall, then annual vaccinations, Minister says


© Reuters. COVID-19 vaccinations in St. Albans

LONDON (Reuters) – A COVID-19 booster in the fall and then annual vaccinations are very likely, the UK Vaccine Deployment Secretary said on Sunday as countries race to give injections amid new variants.

The UK has already provided nearly 11.5 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccines and is on track to meet its target of vaccinating everyone in the most vulnerable groups by mid-February.

Coronavirus variants currently most affected by scientists and public health experts include the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants, which appear to be spreading faster than others.

"We are very likely to see an annual or a booster in the fall and then an annual (vaccination) like we do with flu shots where you look at what variant of the virus is spreading around the world," Nadhim Zahawi told BBCs Andrew Marr show.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 said on Saturday its vaccine, developed with Oxford University, appears to offer limited protection against minor illnesses caused by the South African variant of COVID-19, based on early data from a study.

The success of the UK's vaccine rollout is fueling debate over how quickly the government can relax restrictions on the lockdown as schools in England are scheduled to reopen in March.

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Steven Gregory