The UK will be free from the coronavirus and its variants by midsummer, the outgoing chief of the country’s vaccine task force said on Saturday.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Clive Dix, the interim leader of the task force who stepped down from the role last week, said it is expected that everyone in the UK would have received at least one vaccine dose by the end of July.
“We’ll have probably protected the population from all the variants that are known. We’ll be safe over the coming winter,” he said, adding that by “sometime in August” there would be no virus circulating in the UK.
His comments follow those by Nadim Zahawi, the minister for vaccine deployment, who said that scientists are looking at a number of possibilities for an autumn booster campaign to make sure that the population is vaccinated and protected against a third wave of the pandemic.
“We may decide that we need to boost the immune response, and we’ve got the vaccine to do that. Whether we’ll need to or not, I would think probably not, but we might still do it in cases,” Zahawi said in a statement.
“I really don’t think it should be autumn. We should be thinking about boosting in maybe January or February, because the immune response will be strong.”
There were 2,047 more cases reported in the UK on Saturday, bringing the week’s total to 14,560 – a 5.2% decrease compared to the previous seven days.
With five more deaths recorded, the number of fatalities between May 2 and 8 within 28 days of testing stands at 79 – a spike of 26.2% compared to the previous seven days.
Over 35 million people had been administered a first dose of the vaccine in the UK as of Friday, with over 17 million people having received both shots, according to latest data.