FILE PHOTO: A dose of AstraZeneca vaccine is prepared at COVID-19 vaccination centre in the Odeon Luxe Cinema in Maidstone, Britain February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

Everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third Covid-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, The Times newspaper reported today (May 5).

Trials of two options are under way, supervised by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, the newspaper said.

The first involves vaccines specifically modified to tackle new variants.

The second is for a third shot of one of the three versions already in use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna, the newspaper reported.

A senior government minister was quoted by the newspaper as saying: “We will have a lot to say about the booster programme soon. It’s looking really positive so far.

“We think that the level of protection in the population to any variant will be so high that by Christmas, Covid-19 should have just faded away into the background like any other illness in circulation. So much so that we don’t think there will be any need to give a booster shot to younger people because transmission will have got so low.”

According to the report, if the booster vaccination programme begins in September, it will finish by the start of December.

Britain has deals for over 510 million doses of eight different Covid-19 vaccines, some of which remain under development.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said last week that the UK will buy 60 million more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, in a deal that more than doubles the country’s supply of the shot ahead of a booster programme later this year.

Britain has now ordered a total of 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, one of three Covid-19 shots being rolled out in the country.

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