Rishi Sunak set to unveil £1.65 billion boost to vaccine rollout

Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a £1.65 billion boost to support the vaccine rollout.

At Wednesday’s budget the Chancellor will announce the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout getting the cash injection explaining it is a key factor in relaxing restrictions.

The UK Treasury explained Mr Sunak will also divert £22 million to fund a “world first” trial to test if different vaccines can be used together, or if a third dose is effective.

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Ahead of his Commons speech midweek, Mr Sunak said it is “essential we maintain this momentum”.

He added: “Protecting ourselves against the virus means we will be able to lift restrictions, reopen our economy and focus our attention on creating jobs and stimulating growth.”

A £33 million fund to improve responses to any new variants and improve vaccine testing will also be set aside, with the money coming from the Vaccine Taskforce’s existing budget.

The UK Government is currently looking at whether vaccine passports could be used to prove people’s health status before entering venues such as pubs and theatres, in a review led by Michael Gove.

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Speaking yesterday, Mr Sunak suggested the conclusions should come in a “few months’ time”.

He added: “Obviously it’s a complicated but potentially very relevant question for helping us reopen, particularly those parts of our country like mass events”.

It comes one day after the UK Government announced it had vaccinated more than 20 million people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a “huge national achievement” and praised the NHS staff, volunteers and armed forces.

He tweeted: “20 million people across the UK have now got the jab – a huge national achievement and a testament to the tireless work of NHS staff, volunteers, the Armed Forces & many more.

“I urge everyone to get the jab when called. Every jab makes a difference in our battle against Covid.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock labelled it a “magnificent achievement for the country”.

He added: “I want to thank every single person who’s come forward to get the jab because we know with increasing confidence that the jab protects you, it protects your community and it also is the route out of this for all of us.”

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