Government signs new contracts to ensure supplies of vaccine stocks for a new variant
The government has signed new contracts to secure supplies of our vaccine inventory to future proof the country’s vaccine program.
The new contracts with Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have been accelerated in light of the new variant to ensure that the government does everything in its power while scientists around the world learn more about Omicron. These future supply agreements include access to modified vaccines should they be needed to address Omicron and future variants of concerns, in order to be prepared for any eventuality.
The agreements signed by the Vaccine Taskforce build on existing partnerships with vaccine companies and see the government procure a total of 114 million additional doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in 2022 and 2023, million additional doses of Pfizer / BioNTech, which will be launched in August ordered for delivery in the second half of next year, and the 60 million Novavax and 7.5 million GSK / Sanofi cans expected in 2022.
After the emergence of the new variant, the Minister of Health and Social Affairs asked the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) for quick advice on expanding the refresher program to all persons over the age of 18. The council was passed this week, with operational plans in place to expedite the vaccine program and offer a vaccine to all eligible adults in England by the end of January.
To expedite the vaccination program, around 400 military personnel will be drafted to aid the operation, with 1,500 public pharmacies, additional hospital centers and pop-up locations opening in convenient locations across the country. More than 3,000 locations have already opened in England – more than twice as many as in February. The government already has enough Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech supplies for the expanded booster program, and the new deal ensures we have the supplies we need well into the future.
Sajid Javid, Minister of Health and Social Affairs said:
Thanks to the Vaccine Task Force, we have an excellent track record of securing the vaccines the country needs to keep this virus at bay.
These new agreements will future proof the major UK vaccination campaigns that have received more than 115 million first, second and booster vaccinations across the UK and ensure we can protect even more people in the years to come.
This is a national mission and our best weapon to deal with this virus and its variants is to get stabs in the guns – so if you get called forward, get the sting and you will be reinforced. “
For the booster program, the JCVI has announced that mRNA vaccines will be offered by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
Data from the COV-BOOST study show that booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines are generally well tolerated and cause a significant increase in vaccine-induced immune responses. MRNA vaccines in particular offer a powerful booster effect.
In addition to ensuring we have supplies to protect the public in this country, the UK remains committed to donating 100 million doses to countries in need by mid-2022. We will have donated more than 30 million vaccines by the end of 2021 and have announced donation plans totaling 70 million doses to date.
We will continue to work to ensure that any vaccine the UK does not need is passed on to other nations that need it where possible.
The latest data shows why boosters are so important. The latest evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that the protection against symptomatic diseases by the delta variant goes from 65% up to 3 months after the second dose to 45% 6 months after the second dose for Oxford. decreases / AstraZeneca vaccine and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Hospitalization protection drops from 95% to 75% for Oxford / AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer / BioNTech.
The first UK real-world study by the UK Health Authority, published in November, showed that boosters in adults over 50 protect over 90% from symptomatic COVID-19, underscoring the importance of boosters protecting people from winter.
These results show that protection from symptomatic infection in adults 50 years of age and older two weeks after receiving a booster dose was 93.1% for those with Oxford / AstraZeneca as the main treatment and 94.0% for Pfizer / BioNTech.