The Government has agreed a contract for more of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab to be delivered from the second half of next year. It said the deal would help stay one step ahead of the virus, supporting any future booster programmes. The Health Secretary said: “The UK’s vaccination programme is providing tens of millions of people with protection from Covid-19, saving 95,200 lives and preventing 82,100 hospitalisations in the over 65s in England alone.
“While we continue to build this wall of defence, it’s vital we do everything we can to protect the country for the future. I am pleased we’ve reached this agreement with Pfizer as part of our robust preparations to future-proof our vaccine programme, ensuring we have plans in place to keep the nation safe for years to come.”
More than 47.6 million people have received a first vaccine in the UK, including 41.8 million who have had both doses. The Pfizer vaccine was the first coronavirus inoculation to be approved and rolled out in the UK.
Grandmother Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to receive an approved Covid jab when she got her dose in Coventry last December.
The UK is also supporting the global rollout of vaccines and will be donating 100 million doses to other countries within the next year. The first nine million were handed out last month.
There were 31,914 new cases of Covid confirmed across the UK yesterday, and 40 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Cases, deaths and hospital admissions have all risen slightly in recent days, according to Government data.
Separate figures revealed that Covid returned to the top 10 causes of death in England in July, ranking ninth.
The virus had previously fallen out of the top 10 for two consecutive months.
In Wales, Covid was the 22nd leading cause of deaths in July, accounting for 33 out of 2,738 fatalities. Meanwhile, research suggested that most patients who caught Covid while in hospital contracted it from another patient, rather than staff.
A study of five wards at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge looked at possible outbreaks between March and June 2020. Experts found that of 22 cases where patients were infected in hospital, 20 were a result of patient-to-patient transmission.
Researchers also found patterns of superspreading, where a fifth of patients caused 80 percent of transmission.
Meanwhile, health officials fear 4,700 cases of Covid-19 may be linked to the Boardmasters music festival in Cornwall earlier this month, which was attended by 50,000 people.