The Government has secured 114 million additional Covid vaccine doses for next year and 2023, it has announced.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today said that it has agreed deals to buy 60 million extra doses of the Moderna vaccine and 54 million of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
It said the new agreements were made to ‘secure the supply of our vaccine stock to future proof the country’s vaccine programme’ in light of the new Omicron variant and could include ‘modified vaccines’ if needed.
The DHSC said: ‘The new contracts with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were accelerated in light of the new variant, as part of the ongoing efforts to ensure the Government is doing everything it can while scientists across the world learn more about Omicron.
‘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.’
The new orders, which are for next year and 2023, are in addition to the 35 million additional Pfizer doses 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, it added.
The DHSC stressed that the Government ‘already has enough supply of both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for the expanded booster programme’ but that the new agreements ensure ‘we will continue to have the supplies we need moving forward’.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Thanks to the Vaccines Taskforce, we have an excellent track record of securing the vaccines the country needs to keep this virus at bay.
‘These new deals will future proof the Great British vaccination effort – which has so far delivered more than 115 million first, second and booster jabs across the UK – and will ensure we can protect even more people in the years ahead.’
It comes as GPs are awaiting operational guidance on the rollout of the expanded Covid booster programme, announced this week.
The health secretary yesterday said that the Government is working to ‘free up’ GP time so they can dedicate themselves to delivering Covid booster jabs.
Earlier this week, GP leaders called for GPs to be freed up to focus on speeding up the Covid booster jab campaign in response to the new Omicron variant of concern – including by suspending QOF.
The Prime minister has announced a target for the NHS to offer booster Covid jabs to all over-18s within two months.
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