‘Britain will be free of the coronavirus by August’ – outgoing vaccine taskforce chief

The coronavirus will no longer be circulating in Britain by midsummer, according to the government’s departing vaccine taskforce chief, Clive Dix.

Mr Dix, who was appointed as interim leader of the taskforce in December and stepped down last week, said it was his belief there would be no circulating virus “sometime in August”.

He also told the Daily Telegraph that he expects everyone in the UK to have been vaccinated at least once by the end of July, by which time “we’ll have probably protected the population from all the variants that are known”.

“We’ll be safe over the coming winter,” he added.

More than 35 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as the UK reported another 15 deaths related to the virus.

On Friday, there were 2,490 new cases reported in the latest 24-hour period, according to government figures.

Earlier this week, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said scientists are looking at a range of options for an autumn vaccine booster programme to protect against a third wave of the virus.

But Mr Dix said he believed this could be pushed back to early 2022.

He told the paper: “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 case.

“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.”


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