Hancock issues update on vaccines, variants and surge testing amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hancock issues update on vaccines, variants and surge testing amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has delivered a speech at the Downing Street coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing on 19 May 2021 regarding the prevalence of the virus in the UK, effectiveness of the vaccine against new variants, surge testing, booster vaccine clinical trials and the UK’s contribution to the COVAX initiative. He confirmed that the government has ‘increasing confidence’ that the vaccines are effective against the variant first discovered in India and that 26,000 people have received a vaccine in the past seven days in Bolton and Blackburn, where the variant is causing most concern. Using mobility data and wastewater analysis, surge testing and increased vaccinations are now also taking place in Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Kirklees, North Tyneside, and Hounslow in London as these areas have been identified as at risk from the virus spreading. In addition, Hancock announced the £19m-backed clinical trial for the booster vaccines and the launch of the Genome UK implementation plan.

In the speech, Hancock also confirmed that seven out of ten adults in the UK have had their first dose as of midnight on 18 May 2021, while four out of ten have received both doses.

Furthermore, he stated that the UK has donated over £500m to COVAX, and delivered 1.5bn vaccines across the world, 400m of which were the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

Sources:

• Health and Social Care Secretary's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 19 May 2021

• Government sets out new action to tackle B1.617.2 variant

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