I was in the House of Commons Chamber this afternoon for the Health Secretary’s statement on the COVID winter plan. I’m pleased that the Government is determined to avoid any more lockdowns and associated restrictions.
Future COVID variants remain a threat, and today I asked a question about the work that is ongoing to enhance/tweak existing vaccines to make better combat the threat posed by different variants which may partially evade the existing vaccines. I was pleased that the Health Secretary confirmed that work is progressing and there is a chance that by the new year there could actually be new bi or multi vaccines. This would be a big step forward regarding our fight against COVID-19.
The vaccine booster programme will commence from next week. The JCVI have recommended that people who were vaccinated in phase 1 (priority groups 1-9) should be offered the booster vaccine. The Government has accepted this advice. The vaccine should not be offered to anyone earlier than 6 months after the completion of the primary vaccine course.
The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that 99% of COVID-19 deaths in the first half of the year were people who had not received both doses of the vaccine. More evidence that the vaccine works and is the reason why we appear to have successfully escaped the endless cycle of lockdowns.
Pleased also that there aren’t currently any plans to introduce COVID-Passports.