Britain will adapt its vaccine rollout to protect people more quickly in areas where a coronavirus variant first detected in India has emerged, the country’s vaccine minister said on Friday.
Government agency Public Health England (PHE) said the total number of confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 variant had more than doubled in the past week to 1,313 across the United Kingdom.
Nadhim Zahawi said in areas where the new variant has emerged that the government would step up enhanced testing and flex the vaccine rollout by offering it to younger people if they live in multi-generational households.
“We will flex the vaccine program to where the clinicians thinks it’s best utilized,” he told BBC TV.
Zahawi said there were concerns about the presence of the Indian variant in some parts of England but that there was no evidence that it had a more severe impact on people or was able to escape the vaccines.
“The (reopening) roadmap from Monday remains in place because the vaccines are delivering, vaccines are keeping people out of hospital and away from severe infection,” Zahawi told Sky News.