Health Secretary of State Matt Hancock is set to issue an update on the spread of the Indian COVID variant this afternoon, Monday, May, 17, following hundreds of people queueing up for vaccines in Bolton over the weekend in desperate need of a jab.
Mr Hancock, yesterday noted that the vast majority of those who had been diagnosed with the new variant hasn’t taken up the offer of an injection when offered one. Now, there is a scramble in hotspots of the virus for injections as people look to protect themselves against the mutant strain.
It also looks like scientists have accepted that the new variant is likely to become dominant across the UK in the coming weeks as cases of the mutant strain in England has reportedly tripled to 1,313 over the past week.
The strain is believed to be more transmissible than the one first detected in Kent, which wreaked havoc across the UK over the winter and forced the third national lockdown in January.
Currently, ministers and scientists aren’t sure if the India variant is more resistant to vaccination… but remain optimistic that the inoculation drive will protect the vast majority against serious infection.
Mr Hancock said yesterday that five people who had received only a single jab had been hospitalised with the Indian variant in Bolton, with one very frail patient who had received two doses admitted as well.
Matt Hancock will by 4 pm update MPs in the Commons on the government’s plan to contain the spread of the strain. Meanwhile, surge testing has been deployed to areas where there is a large number of cases.
Ministers are working seriously to ensure that more people are vaccinated with Dr Helen Wall, who is leading the vaccination effort in Bolton, saying that more than 6,200 people received the vaccine on Saturday and Sunday.