Britain to be ‘free of Covid by August’ and safe over winter, vaccine chief says

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Britain will be free of coronavirus by August, the government's departing vaccine task force chief has predicted.

Clive Dix, who stepped down last week, said it was his belief there would be no circulating virus "sometime in August".

He also expects everyone in the UK to have been vaccinated at least once by the end of July, by which time "we'll have probably protected the population from all the variants that are known".

"We'll be safe over the coming winter," he told the Telegraph.

Over 35 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a coronavirus jab, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said earlier this week.

Under-30s are yet to be called in but it is understood anyone below this age, and up to the age of 40, will be allowed to opt out of the AstraZeneca in favour of Pfizer.

The option to opt out comes after Oxford’s shot caused blood clots in the veins and brain of a very small number of people.

Mr Zahawi also said the government and its scientists are looking at a range of options for an autumn vaccine booster programme, aimed at protecting the UK from a third wave of the virus.

But Mr Dix said the UK may not need to "boost the immune response," and the programme could be pushed back to 2022.

He went on to suggest a booster won't be needed until January or February because Brits immune response will still be strong in the autumn.

Mr Dix told the Telegraph: "We may decide that we need to boost the immune response, and we've got the vaccine to do that. Whether we'll need to or not, I would think probably not, but we might still do it in case.

"I really don't think it should be autumn. We should be thinking about boosting in maybe January or February, because the immune response will be strong."

  • Coronavirus

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