UK Covid latest news LIVE: Sajid Javid says we are putting ‘booster programme on steroids’


ajid Javid said putting the “booster programme on steroids” is the UK’s main form of defence.

The Health Secretary said no one wants to see the return of lockdown as the UK battles against the Omicron variant.

In response to Richard Drax, he said: “No-one wants to see those kinds of measures, but Mr Drax I’m sure will agree with me that, first let me agree with him that Covid is with us to stay and we need to learn to live with it, and the best way I think we can do that is with the primary form of defence that we’ve got, which is our vaccination programme, and I hope he agrees with me that we’re absolutely right to basically put the booster programme on steroids because that will really help us.”


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Sajid Javid says regulators must be given time to approve new methods of delivery for the vaccine.

“It is something we are taking very seriously”, he adds.


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In a question to the Health Secretary, SNP MP Richard Thomson (Gordon) said: “I wonder if he (Sajid Javid) shares my disappointment that when the first ministers of Scotland and Wales today called for a Cobra meeting to be convened, it appeared to be dismissed outright.

“I wonder will the Secretary of State will prevail upon the Prime Minister to call, attend and convene an urgent Cobra meeting involving all four nations so that people will be persuaded that he is on top of this development as we would all expect him to be?”

Mr Javid replied: “In terms of meetings, and UK nations working together, I think that has been one of the successes of the UK response to this pandemic – the way that nations across the UK have worked together especially on vaccines, on testing, on surveillance and anti-virals – and it shows that we are stronger together.”


Matt Hancock steps up to ask a question

Conservative former health secretary Matt Hancock described the Government’s action as “well judged and rapid” as he asked about a variant vaccine.

He said: “While existing vaccinations including boosters are effective against all known major variants before Omicron, can he set out plans for a variant vaccine should it be needed in the worst-case scenario?”

Mr Javid replied: “When it comes to potentially new vaccines that is a programme that the UK has been supporting, largely thanks to his efforts when he was in my position, and that work continues and if it is necessary to procure new vaccines that we believe are safe and effective, and will help with this new variant, we will do so.”


Graham Brady asks what Health Sec thinks of early reports that Omicron is less severe variant

Conservative Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, said he welcomed a debate and vote on the restrictions, but said it would be better to have done so before they come into force.

Sir Graham asked what assessment the Health Secretary has made of early reports from South Africa that “the variant may actually lead to less severe illness than the previous variants”.

He said: “Can I welcome the fact that we have both a debate and a vote tomorrow on these regulations. But wouldn’t it be better if we had the debate and the vote before the restrictions come into force, rather than after?”

Sajid Javid said: “In terms of the debate and the vote tomorrow, I believe the Leader (Commons Leader) will be making a statement on that shortly, I think right after my statement.”

He added: “It is early days in terms of those reports. We are looking into those and talking actually with our South African friends in getting more details.

“I think it is worth pointing out that the age profile, the demographics in South Africa, is generally people are on average younger. We are taking that into account as well.”

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