Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi gives updates

Government scientific advisers will meet again later to discuss the rise in cases of the India virus variant, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says.

Zahawi tells the Today programme one of the four tests of the government was that we “have got to bear down on the infection rates” before any further reopening.

The relaxation of all measures on 21 June would depend on the four tests, which includes whether the health service is under pressure and how well the vaccine rollout is going.

Monday will see the biggest single step in England’s roadmap out of lockdown as indoor hospitality and overnight stays return.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has suggested younger adults in areas where there is a surge of the variant initially identified in India could be vaccinated sooner.

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The jab is currently available to those aged 38 and over, and to those over-18 with underlying conditions, as well as health and social care workers.

Zahawi told Sky News: “The clinicians will look at all of this to see how we can flex the vaccination programme to make it as effective as possible to deal with this surge in this variant.

“They will make those decisions and we will be ready to implement, whether it’s vaccinating younger cohorts.

“We have been doing some work on multi-generational households where we vaccinate the whole household, over-18s, and of course the older groups who are already eligible.

“Or, bringing forward the second dose – we look at all of that and be guided by the clinicians as to what we do on that.”

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