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UK records 32,058 more COVID cases and 104 deaths

Written by on 21/08/2021

The UK has recorded 32,058 more COVID cases and 104 further deaths in the latest 24-hour period, according to government data.

On Friday 37,314 new cases and 114 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded.

And this time last week, 29,520 cases and 93 deaths were reported.

Another 57,289 people had their first coronavirus jab yesterday, taking the total number of people who have had one dose to 47,573,794. This figure now includes 16 and 17-year-olds.

And another 164,448 second doses were administered, meaning 41,496,576 people are now fully inoculated against COVID.

It comes as an expert warned the UK must not take its “eye off the ball” as COVID-19 could come “roaring back”.

Dr Chris Smith, consultant virologist and lecturer at Cambridge University, added that a decision on booster jabs should not be “rash, [or] rushed” but that the UK risks “unstitching all of the good work we’ve done so far” if large portions of the population lose immunity because of vaccines “waning in their effectiveness”.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said he is “confident” a booster vaccine campaign can start next month despite reports that experts want more time to consider whether they are needed.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dr Smith said: “We all agree that [the pandemic] is not over until it is over in every corner of the world, because otherwise it will just come roaring back.

“Don’t forget we think that this started with a handful of cases in one city, in one corner of one country… and it then eclipsed the entire world.

“But one must not take one’s eye off the ball here because it would be very easy to unstitch all of the good work we’ve done so far if it turns out with time we do lose immunity because the vaccines wane in their effectiveness.

“As we go into winter, now is a critical period and I think that is why we haven’t seen a rash, rushed decision by the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) and the government.”

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NHS plans are in place to enable a rollout of third doses from 6 September, alongside flu vaccines, but unlike in other countries such as Israel, no official decision on the booster programme has yet been taken.

Meanwhile, research has found that more than three-quarters of adults in every age group say they would be likely or very likely to get a booster jab if offered.

Overall, 87% of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics said they would be likely or very likely to get a third coronavirus jab.

Likelihood increased with age, with 96% of those aged 70 and over indicating their interest, down to 78% of 16 to 29-year-olds.

 Sky News

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