The UK government has secured an extra 60 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, in a bid to strengthen plans for the autumn COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The government is planning to use the additional doses in preparation for a booster programme based on clinical need ahead of winter.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added that the extra Pfizer/BioNTech jabs will be used alongside other approved vaccines as part of the booster programme.

Details of the booster programme will be published in ‘due course’ and will be informed by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the results of clinical trials in the UK testing different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure the most vulnerable are protected from COVID-19 now and in the future,” said Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.

“Our brilliant Vaccines Taskforce has secured an extra 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to support our booster programme, which will be developed in line with the advice of our experts.

“In the meantime, we are making great progress with our vaccination rollout and I urge everybody to get their vaccines as soon as they are eligible,” he added.

Following the procurement of the extra 60 million doses, the UK has so far secured access to 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

This matches the UK’s total secured doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine.

As of 27 April, over 47.5 million vaccines have been administered in the UK, with 64.5% of all adults having received their first dose and 25.8% having also had their second dose.

"By more than doubling our supply commitment to the UK, we are delighted to support the ongoing rollout of the UK immunisation programme and help the government in its efforts to address the pandemic," commented Ben Osborn, country manager at Pfizer UK

"Along with our partner BioNTech, we are working relentlessly to support vaccination campaigns worldwide and, based on current projections, believe we can deliver more than 2.5 billion doses of our vaccine globally by the end of 2021," he added.