Rishi Sunak will give funding for trials into third Covid jab

Will a THIRD Covid jab boost protection? Rishi Sunak will give funding for trials into whether extra vaccine shot could benefit patients

  • Rishi Sunak will provide vaccination programme with an additional £1.65billion
  • Money includes £22million to fund UK trial of ‘mix and match’ vaccine strategy  
  • Trial will also examine whether there is any value in giving people a third dose

Trials to establish whether people would benefit from having a third dose of Covid vaccine will be given funding in the Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will provide the vaccination programme with an additional £1.65billion on Wednesday, aimed largely at ensuring that the target of offering the jab to all adults by the end of July is met or exceeded.

The cash will include £22million to fund a UK trial of a ‘mix and match’ vaccine strategy, where volunteers will be given first and second doses of different jabs. 

The trial will also examine whether there is any value in giving people a third dose of the vaccine.

The Chancellor will provide the vaccination programme with an additional £1.65billion in his Budget on Wednesday. (Stock image)

There will be £33million for a new fund to help test, analyse and deal with new variants, while £5million will be allocated to create a ‘library’ of vaccines at the Centre for Process Innovation in Darlington, County Durham, for work against different variants.

The vaccination scheme, which yesterday passed the milestone of giving a first dose to 20 million people, is seen as central to the government’s plan to reopen the economy.

In a statement last night, Mr Sunak said: ‘The UK’s vaccination programme has been a great success and is protecting lives and livelihoods, with over 20 million people already receiving their first dose.

‘But it’s essential we maintain this momentum. Protecting ourselves against the virus means we will be able to lift restrictions, reopen our economy and focus our attention on creating jobs and stimulating growth.’

The emergence of new variants is one of the biggest uncertainties in the coming months, and the one ministers believe is most likely to knock the road map off course.

Trials to examine whether there is any value in giving people a third dose of the vaccine will also be carried out. Pictured:  A pharmacist prepares the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Ealing, west London

Mr Sunak yesterday said there was no evidence yet of any further new variants circulating in the UK.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘With regard to variants, we always have to keep a watchful eye on all of those. 

‘And between our world-leading genomic sequencing, the surge testing, the contact tracing and just the low level of the virus, those are all things that will help us keep an eye on that.’

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