Government aims to future proof vaccine rollout

3 December 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has signed contracts to buy a total of 114 million additional Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna doses for 2022 and 2023.

The new contracts were accelerated in light of the new Covid-19 variant, as part of the ongoing efforts to ensure that the Government is doing everything it can to prepare while scientists across the world learn more about Omicron.

The DHSC confirmed that these future supply deals include access to modified vaccines if they are needed to combat Omicron and future Variants of Concern, to prepare for all eventualities.

They will see the Government procure a total of 114 million additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for 2022 and 2023.

This is in addition to the 35 million additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech ordered in August for delivery in the second half of next year, and the 60 million Novavax and 7.5 million GSK/Sanofi doses expected in 2022.

Following the emergence of the new variant, the Health and Social Care Secretary asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for rapid advice on extending the booster programme to all those aged 18 and over.

The advice was accepted, with operational plans being set out to speed up the vaccine programme and offer all eligible adults in England a vaccine by the end of January 2022.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that the UK remains committed to donating 100 million doses to countries in need by the middle of next year.

He also highlighted findings which show that, two weeks after receiving a booster dose, protection against symptomatic infection in adults aged 50 years and over was 93.1% in those with Oxford/AstraZeneca as their primary course and 94.0% for Pfizer/BioNTech.