Government ‘orders 35m Pfizer vaccines for 2022 boosters’
The government are going ahead with a booster jab campaign despite growing costs
The initiative is scheduled to run throughout autumn and into 2022; the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has not been put off by pharmaceutical companies ramping up the prices.
Pfizer is now said to be charging £22 a dose, as opposed to their earlier price of £18, simply because the sheer global demand has pushed the market price up.
As reported by the Times, the government is expected to announce £1 billion-worth of extra doses in the coming weeks, with the EU also signing a contract with Pfizer to buy 900m more doses, with an option to buy the same number again.
On Tuesday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that preparations for the booster campaign this year are still ongoing but that ministers were awaiting guidance from the clinical experts before rolling out.
Furthermore, according to a vaccination expert on Wednesday, the suggestion is that a third coronavirus jab will "quite likely" be needed for a small number of people - i.e. those who are high-risk and immunocompromised. However, the need for a broader national campaign remains uncertain.
Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said people who have a weak immune system are likely to need the booster jab, but it is still unclear whether it will be rolled out to all over-50s as with the first two doses.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Finn said: "We've been asked to advise as to who might receive a booster if it proves necessary to give boosters.
"I think it's becoming quite clear that there are a small group of people whose immune responses to the first two doses are likely to be inadequate - people who've got immunosuppression of one kind or another, perhaps because they've got immunodeficiency or they've been receiving treatment for cancer or bone marrow transplants or organ transplants, that kind of thing.
"I think it's quite likely we'll be advising on a third dose for some of those groups. A broader booster programme is still uncertain, we've laid out potential plans so that the logistics of that can be put together, alongside the flu vaccine programme.”