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Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC TV on Friday the government would “flex” its inoculation schedule to direct more doses to the worst affected areas, while second doses could be brought forward.
In a statement Thursday evening, the UK Department for Health and Welfare announced that a new ‘rapid response surge’ team of 100 nurses, public health advisers and environmental health workers would be deployed to Bolton, a town in the outskirts of Manchester where the B1.617.2 variant is spreading rapidly.
“Although there is not yet strong evidence to show that this variant has a greater impact on the severity of the disease or eludes the vaccine, the rate of growth is of concern and the government is considering further measures if this. is considered necessary, including the best way to use the vaccine. -out to best protect the most vulnerable in the context of the current epidemiology, ”said the Department in the statement.
Data on the new variant released Thursday by Public Health England showed that the number of cases across the UK had risen from 520 last week to 1,313 this week, with most of the cases concentrated in the north-west of the England and a few clusters in London.
“Cannot exclude” the new restrictions
The vaccine rollout in the UK has been one of the fastest in the world, with almost 70% of the adult population having received at least one vaccine to date. The vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of 38, but the government has said they could be made available to younger people living in multigenerational households.
The next phase of England’s exit from lockdown is slated for Monday, when indoor socializing, hospitality and entertainment resume.
In addition to the specialist unit in Bolton, surge tests have already been deployed in 15 regions of England, with more than 800,000 tests distributed.
“As stated in the roadmap, we cannot rule out the re-imposition of economic and social restrictions at the local or regional level if evidence suggests they are needed to contain or remove a variant that escapes the vaccine,” said the DHSC.