The UK recorded a further 191 deaths in the past 24 hours (Picture: PA)
The UK has recorded a further 191 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, Government figures show.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 158,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
There have been 38,975 new lab-confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.
More than 112,000 vaccines were also administered, with 26,624 of those being first doses and 85,848 second jabs.
The latest update comes after the Health Secretary said he is ‘confident’ a booster programme can begin this month, pending further advice on who should be eligible.
Sajid Javid said he is also expecting to hear from the UK’s chief medical officers in the coming days about any mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to confirm last week that a booster rollout will begin this month, saying older people are the priority as autumn and winter approach.
But the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is yet to provide a recommendation.
Deaths have increased by more than a quarter in the last week
New cases are up by 15% over the same period
The committee was expected to receive data this week from the Cov-Boost trial, which is looking at different vaccines to see what immune responses they give and whether jabs can be mixed and matched.
Mr Javid said he is ‘very confident” there will be a booster programme, but told Sky News: ‘In terms of who actually gets it and when, we’re waiting for final advice which could come across, certainly, in the next few days from the JCVI.’
His comments come as the head of AstraZeneca said booster vaccines may not be necessary for everyone and rolling out third doses too quickly would be an ‘unnecessary burden’ on the NHS.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph alongside the company’s executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals R&D Sir Mene Pangalos, chief executive Pascal Soriot called for patience from the Government, stressing the UK was ‘a few weeks away’ from having a definitive answer on the effectiveness of two doses in providing ‘continued, protective immunity’.
They said: ‘Moving too quickly to boost across the entire adult population will deprive us of these insights, leaving this important decision to rest on limited data.
‘A third dose for all may be needed, but it may not. Mobilising the NHS for a boosting programme that is not needed would potentially add unnecessary burden on the NHS over the long winter months.
‘Because NHS staff and resources are scarce, another national mobilisation would potentially leave us with fewer resources for cancer screenings and the other care provided by doctors and nurses each day.’
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a pause on booster programmes (Picture: Reuters)
World Health Organisation director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for a global pause on booster programmes until at least the end of the year.
He said there should not be widespread use of third doses for healthy people who are already double-jabbed while poorer countries struggle to protect their populations with ‘leftover’ doses.
In a sombre address to a press conference on Wednesday, Dr Tedros said poorer countries should not be a ‘second or third priority’.
He said: ‘There has been a lot of talk about vaccine equity, but too little action. High income countries have promised to donate more than a billion doses, but less than 15% of those doses have been materialised.
‘Manufacturers have promised to prioritise Covax and low income countries. We don’t want any more promises. We just want the vaccines.
‘A month ago, I called for a global moratorium on booster doses, at least until the end of September, to prioritise vaccinating the most at-risk people around the world who are yet to receive their first dose.
‘There has been little change in the global situation since then. So today, I’m calling for an extension of the moratorium, until at least the end of the year, to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population.
‘Third doses may be necessary for the most at-risk populations where there is evidence of waning immunity against severe disease and death, such as the very small group of immunocompromised people who did not respond sufficiently to their initial dose or are no longer producing antibodies.
‘But for now, we do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated.’
He said the WHO had been calling for vaccine equity throughout, ‘not after the richest countries have been taken care of’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.