British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a "clear plan" to sustain "gains" in the fight against coronavirus during the autumn and winter months, when he said the virus has a "natural advantage" to thrive. This will include Britain's roll out of COVID-19 booster shots for the most vulnerable and elderly. In a statement, Johnson said while the pandemic was far from over, Britain was able to live with COVID-19 "without significant restrictions on our freedoms thanks to our phenomenal vaccine programme, new treatments and testing."
There are already indications that Johnson's government will rely on vaccines and testing to keep COVID-19 under check instead of harsher measures such as making vaccine passports necessary for entry into nightclubs.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has previously recommended making elderly and vulnerable people priority for any booster programme, and said it could start in September.
The government said it had now received final advice from the JCVI on the booster programme, and details will be announced by Johnson and health minister Sajid Javid on Tuesday.
Britain has recorded 134,000 COVID-19 deaths, and over 7 million cases since the start of the pandemic. In July, Johnson ended the last COVID-19 restrictions in England as part of plan to what he called "return to normal."
In the United States, the Joe Biden administration is also planning to start a booster programme for vaccinated people. In an article published in medical journal Lancet on Monday, some of the world's leading scientists, including from the US Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization, wrote that COVID-19 booster shots were not required yet.
Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said the US is "still in pandemic mode" and needed to bring down coronavirus infections to "well below 10,000" from the current 160,000 mark before the country starts "feeling comfortable."