The British government has ordered an extra 35 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in preparation for a booster jabs campaign in 2022, despite the big pharma company increasing the price of the jabs.
The booster programme expected in the autumn this year, though ministers have not yet given the final go-ahead. According to the Times however, the government is expected to announce that £1 billion-worth of extra doses have been ordered from Pfizer for next Autumn after ministers were warned that the UK could run out of jabs in 2022, leading to more lockdowns.
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MSN reports: Pfizer is charging £22 a dose – compared with an earlier price of £18 – because global demand has pushed up prices.
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The EU has also signed a contract with Pfizer to buy 900million doses, with an option to buy the same number again.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it does not comment on commercial vaccine supply arrangements, adding it was confident it would have enough to “support potential booster programmes in the future”.
On Tuesday Health Secretary Sajid Javid said preparations for the booster campaign this year were ongoing, but ministers were awaiting guidance from the clinical experts.
A third coronavirus jab will “quite likely” be needed for a small number of people but a broader campaign is still uncertain, a vaccination expert said on Wednesday.
Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said people who have a weak immune system are likely to need a booster jab, but it is still unclear whether it will be rolled out to all over-50s.
“We’ve been asked to advise as to who might receive a booster if it proves necessary to give boosters,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“I think it’s becoming quite clear that there are a small group of people whose immune responses to the first two doses are likely to be inadequate – people who’ve got immunosuppression of one kind or another, perhaps because they’ve got immunodeficiency or they’ve been receiving treatment for cancer or bone marrow transplants or organ transplants, that kind of thing.
“I think it’s quite likely we’ll be advising on a third dose for some of those groups.
“A broader booster programme is still uncertain, we’ve laid out potential plans so that the logistics of that can be put together, alongside the flu vaccine programme.”