Nadhim Zahawi denies gap between vaccines will be cut to four weeks
There are no plans to cut the gap between first and second Covid vaccines from eight weeks to four, according to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Zahawi said that protection from two doses of any of the approved Covid vaccines is more optimal at eight weeks than from four weeks.
The Sunday Times reported today that Number 10 has asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to approve a decision to halve the gap between vaccine doses.
The move would ensure more people would be eligible for quarantine-free travel over the rest of summer.
However, Zahawi told Sky News that this was not the government’s current thinking.
“The real-world data, the clinical data suggests that actually the eight-week interval offers that additional fortification in terms of protection with the two doses, at much better than having the interval shortened any further,” he said.
Demand for the vaccine is beginning to dwindle, with half of the country’s 18-24-year-olds still unvaccinated.
The government has launched campaigns in conjunction with social media firms like Youtube and dating apps like Tinder in a bid to get young Britons to take the vaccine.
There are now fresh plans to start an advertising blitz featuring England footballers and YouTube influencers.
It comes as Covid cases are surging, particularly among young men.
Professor James Naismith of Oxford University told the Sunday Times: “The number of infections of Covid-19 from the third wave has continued to grow rapidly in the UK in younger age groups. The virus is firmly established in younger people and growing rapidly.
“Although the vast majority of younger people will have very mild — if any — symptoms, a small percentage will have more serious illness. A small percentage of a very large number is still quite a lot of people.”