Hancock: UK will be ‘generous around world’ with Covid vaccine | World news

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The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said Britain would be “generous around the world” with its Covid vaccine supply once its citizens were protected as it was announced that the UK has purchased an extra 40m doses.

In the aftermath of a bitter row between AstraZeneca and the EU in which Brussels demanded that some vaccine supply to the UK be diverted to the bloc, Hancock said it was clear the UK had more supply than it needed. There are currently 400m doses on order – enough for three times the UK population.

The purchase of an additional 40m doses of the Valneva coronavirus vaccine – manufactured in the UK and set to be delivered late this year and into 2022 if it gets regulatory approval – suggests the government may be envisaging the need for annual vaccinations.

“We’ve taken a no-regrets attitude to backing vaccines. We’ve tried to leave nothing on the table,” Hancock said.

“This is obviously more than the UK population needs. And 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. I want to say this to our international partners, of course, I’m delighted about how well this is going. But I believe, fundamentally, that the vaccine rollout is a global effort.”

He said the government “will protect UK supply and we’ll play our part to ensure the whole world can get the jab”.

Hancock said there had been “constructive progress … over the weekend with the EU and following those decisions by the EU, I’m confident that we’ll be able to deliver supplies to everyone who needs it for their second dose”.

He added that the UK was also playing a key role in tracking new mutations. “A mutation in one part of the world is a threat to people everywhere,” he said, confirming that the UK had now identified 105 cases of the South Africa variant, 11 of which are believed to have no links to international travel, suggesting community transmission had begun.

Surge testing will be carried out in a number of different areas where the variant may have spread, the government announced earlier on Monday. “There’s currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe. But we need to come down on it hard, and we will,” he said.

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Source: The Guardian
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