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Boris Johnson Indicates People Will Need Revaccination To Deal With New Covid Variants

Boris Johnson told the Commons the public must get used to the idea of revaccination (PA)

4 min read

The Prime Minister has told the public to "get used to the idea of revaccination” this autumn to deal with new Covid variants.

In the Commons this lunchtime Boris Johnson gave the clearest sign yet that the more virulent strains of coronavirus will require people to get an additional jab to maintain protection from the diseased.

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, the Tory former Cabinet minister Julian Smith asked Johnson about supply chain issues and what is being done to protect delivery of vaccines as the virus mutates.

The PM replied: “That's why we recently announced an agreement for 50 million doses with the manufacturer CureVac, because we believe that that may help us to develop vaccines that can respond at scale to new variants of the virus.

“And as the House will have heard from from the chief medical officer and the deputy chief medical officer and others, I think we're going to have to get used to the idea of vaccinating and then re-vaccinating in the autumn, as we as we come to face these new variants.

Johnson also addressed criticism the infection control at the border is not stringent enough, saying Britain risks being "cut off from the rest of the world" if border measures are tightened even further beyond the new hotel quarantine plan.

It came after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused him of appearing to "change policy pretty well every day" but still not doing enough to prevent new strains of Covid-19 entering the country.

Starmer asked: ”Fifty days after we first discovered the South African variant, how does the Prime Minister explain that?” 

The PM replied: "There are some countries in Europe which don't even have a hotel quarantine scheme such as the one we're putting in on Monday. We have amongst the toughest border regimes anywhere in the world.

"People should understand that on a normal day at this time of year you could expect about 250,000 to be arriving in this country. We've got it down to about 20,000-5,000 of them who are involved in bringing in vital things into this country, such as medicines and food.

"Unless he actually wants to cut this country off from the rest of the world – which I think last week he said he didn't want to do, unless of course he's changed his mind again – I think this policy is measured, proportionate, it's getting tougher from Monday and I hope he supports it."Starmer also asked whether business rate relief or the furlough scheme will be extended beyond March.

Johnson avoided making any commitments to extend support.

"Members of this House are familiar with the notion that in just a few days we will be setting out a road map for the way out of this pandemic, a road map that I hope he and his colleagues will support," Johnson replied. But the leader of the opposition hit back, and said: "We all know what the Prime Minister once said he wanted to do to business. We on these benches would rather listen to businesses.

"So we've no decision on business rates, no decision on furlough. 

“Let's try another crucial issue, and Prime Minister, no excuse for delaying this time because this has to be decided before the March Budget and the Prime Minister doesn't need to check with the Chancellor.

"So will the Prime Minister now commit to extending the evictions ban on residential properties beyond February 21?"

Again, Johnson avoided specific pledges: "I have said repeatedly that what we will do in this Government and throughout this pandemic is put our arms around the British people and support them throughout the pandemic and make sure that people are not unfairly evicted during the pandemic. That is what we will do."

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