Vaccine Minister: Britons May Need THIRD Shot This Year, Annual Vaccination

A pedestrian walks past an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London on February 6, 2021 as Britain's largest ever vaccination programme continues. - More than 10 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Britain, according to government statistics …
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Britain’s Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that Britons may need to have a third coronavirus shot in the space of one year to protect against new strains of the Chinese coronavirus, adding that people may need annual boosters.

So far all of the available vaccines licenced for use in Britain require an initial injection and then another some weeks later, with the first rollout of jabs having started in December. Mr Zahawi said that he and England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, believe that there will “probably” be another vaccination in the autumn, and then an annual shot, akin to the seasonal flu vaccine programme.

“We see very much probably an annual or booster in the autumn and then an annual [jab], in the way we do with flu vaccinations where you look at what variant of virus is spreading around the world, rapidly produce a variant of vaccine, and then begin to vaccinate and protect the nation,” Mr Zahawi told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Health minister Edward Argar also made the prediction, telling Sky News: “What we would all expect is every year we have our flu booster jabs, or our flu jabs, it would not be unreasonable to suggest something similar here.”

The remarks come after the government revealed last week that it had secured a contract with French firm Valneva, which has a plant in Scotland, for 100 million doses, including batches to be ready from 2022. The British government also was investing in CureVac, funding efforts by the German company to develop vaccines against new variants of COVID-19.

‘No plans’ for ‘discriminatory’ vaccine passport 

Mr Zahawi also told Andrew Marr that the government had “no plans” to introduce vaccine passports to facilitate international travel, after reports from last week claimed that the government was working on such documentation in the face of holiday destinations like Greece planning to demand proof of immunity in order to gain entry without quarantine.

Asked directly if the government were working on such documentation, the vaccine minister said: “No we’re not.”

The Conservative minister continued: “There are several reasons why. One: vaccines are not mandated in this country…that’s not how we do things in the UK. We do them by consent. We yet don’t know what impact of vaccines on the transmission is, and it would be discriminatory.

“Of course, you have the evidence that you’ve been vaccinated held by your GP, and if other countries require you to show proof of that evidence, then that is obviously up to those countries.

“But we’ve given the first dose to 11.5 million people, and we have no plan of introducing a vaccine passport.”

Denmark is set to become the first country to introduce a vaccination certificate by the end of this month to facilitate international travel for business. The country’s Acting Minister of Finance Morten Bødskov suggested the document could also be used as “extra security” when reopening society in the future.

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