Matt Hancock: Over 100 cases of new variant in the UK
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening, the Health Secretary hailed the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout so far. More than 9.2 million Brits have now received a first dose of a Covid jab.
Over the weekend alone, more than a million doses were administered, with almost nine in 10 of all those aged over 80 now vaccinated, and over half of those in their 70s receiving a jab.
Mr Hancock told the public the UK was racing ahead of other countries in rolling out its immunisation programme and would donate surplus jabs to other nations to help inoculate the global population.
He said: “We now have over 400 million doses of vaccine on order. This is obviously more than the UK population needs.
“My attitude has always been we protect every UK citizen as fast as we can, and at the same time we’re generous around the world.
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“I want to say this to our international partners.
“Of course I’m delighted at how well this is going at home, but I believe fundamentally that the vaccine rollout is a global effort.
“One of the many reasons I’m so happy with the AstraZeneca contract is that it just gives us a strong supply here, but because it is the only vaccine currently being deployed that is available to the whole world at cost.
“And because it is logistically straight forward, it can be practically deployed to the poorest parts of the world too.
“So we will protect the UK supply and we’ll play our part to ensure the whole world can get the jab.”
His comments came on the same day the UK ordered another 40 million vaccine doses from drugs manufacturer Valneva.
The Health Secretary said the UK was continuing with its “no regrets” attitude to backing vaccines that have yet to be approved.
He said that if it gains approval, the Valneva vaccine will be manufactured in Livingston in Scotland.
More to follow…
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