Covid booster jabs could be introduced for over-70s
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Norfolk and Waveney's most vulnerable and elderly could be given booster injections in a bid to protect against emerging coronavirus variants.
Nadhim Zahawi, the government's vaccine minister, said additional jabs could be administered as soon as September.
They could go to the country's top four priority groups, which includes over-70s and those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable.
Residents in care homes for older adults, as well as frontline health and social care workers, would also receive further protection.
Asked by the Telegraph when the booster programme would begin, Mr Zahawi said: "The most likely date will be September.
"Jonathan Van-Tam (the deputy chief medical officer) thinks that if we are going to see a requirement for a booster jab to protect the most vulnerable, it would be around September."
Mr Zahawi was said to have added that up to eight different jabs could be available by the autumn, including one which guards against three different variants in a single dose.
A number will reportedly be manufactured in the UK, potentially easing the pressure on supply amid tensions with the European Union as it faces shortages from AstraZeneca.
Ministers are already facing pressure to protect the success of the UK's vaccination programme against new strains originating overseas.
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The Guardian reports that officials met on Friday to consider expanding the travel 'red list', which enforces hotel quarantine upon return.
Labour's shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: "The government is yet again doing too little, too late, to secure our borders against Covid - and it's the British people that will pay the price.
"Ministers need to do everything possible to stop new variants reaching the UK - and move to a comprehensive hotel quarantine system now."
Norfolk and Waveney's own vaccination rollout has produced impressive results, with more than 60pc of adults having received their first dose as of March 21.
The area has the fifth-highest vaccination rate in the country and, in the latest seven-day period, another 68,359 jabs were administered.
More than 32,000 patients in Norfolk and Waveney have already had second shots.