Britain will donate another 20m doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid jab

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Britain will donate another 20million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to poorer countries, No10 announced today.

Half of the surplus supply has already been shipped, while the remaining batch will be sent in the next few weeks. 

The UK’s entire supply of Johnson and Johnson’s one-dose jab will also be handed over to the COVAX scheme — the UN’s vaccine sharing programme.  

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The pledge comes ahead of Boris Johnson meeting other world leaders at the G20 summit in Rome today.

The Prime Minister will urge fellow premiers to follow the UK’s example and support vaccine programmes in third-world countries.

He will say: ‘Like a waking giant, the world economy is stirring back to life. But the pace of recovery will depend on how quickly we can overcome Covid.

‘Our first priority as the G20 must be to press ahead with the rapid, equitable and global distribution of vaccines.’ 

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Britain has today said it will donate its entire supply of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, or Janssen, to poorer countries. The one-shot jab had been heralded as possibly helping encourage vaccine-sceptics to take the plunge and get inoculated

Britain has today said it will donate its entire supply of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, or Janssen, to poorer countries. The one-shot jab had been heralded as possibly helping encourage vaccine-sceptics to take the plunge and get inoculated

The Prime Minister is expected to urge his peers to follow the UK's example and support vaccine programmes in less well off countries (stock image)

The Prime Minister is expected to urge his peers to follow the UK’s example and support vaccine programmes in less well off countries (stock image)

Experts call for Johnson and Johnson jab to be offered to vaccine-sceptic Britons 

Britain is set to donate all 20million doses of its one-shot Covid vaccine to poorer countries. 

But experts had already called on the NHS to ensure they were dished out to vaccine-sceptic Britons.

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Dr Al Edwards, an associate professor in biomedical technology at Reading University, said they could help boost uptake.

He told MailOnline this week: ‘Offering convenient services can be incredibly effective.’

‘Having one dose, instead of having one, and then having to book another one, that could help definitely.’

Professor Anna Whittaker, an expert in vaccines and behavioural medicine from the University of Stirling, said offering the single jab to the unvaccinated over 50s could offer them quicker protection as the country heads into winter.

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‘Generally if a vaccine has proven efficacy and safety in the age group concerned then it would be worth offering,’ she said.

‘Another advantage of a single dose (beyond reduced needles) is that full protection happens faster than a two-dose schedule.’

NHS England figures suggest some 2million over-50s are still yet to get the Covid vaccine. 

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The donation comes after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on rich countries to donate their jabs and ‘get the unused vaccines out’. 

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘They’re the people who control these vaccines. Make a decision, get the unused vaccines out.

‘Nobody’s really safe until everyone’s vaccinated everywhere.

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‘The disease is spreading in the poorer countries, it’s going to mutate, we’re going to have new variants like Delta, they’re going to come back to haunt even the fully vaccinated here. 

‘It’s in all our interests to get the vaccines all around the world to everyone.

‘Now the good news is we have the vaccines, we just need to get them out to people.’

Mr Brown was among a group including former UN general secretary Ban Ki-Moon and ex-New Zealand premier Helen Clark who this week called on world leaders to send unused vaccines from the global north to the global south.

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Britain bought more than 500million doses at the start of the campaign, in a calculated gamble to secure early access to vaccines. 

It meant the UK had enough doses to give everyone nine jabs.

It has so far only used doses from three suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

It is now using mostly the Pfizer jab for its booster campaign, which will see up to 32million over-50s, NHS workers and at-risk adults offered a top up dose.

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But there are still millions of adults — including 2million over-50s — who are still yet to get a jab at all. 

Johnson and Johnson’s one-shot jab was heralded as a way to encourage vaccine-sceptics to take the plunge because they would only need to get one appointment.

Britain initially ordered 20million doses of the US giant’s vaccine.

It also ordered 100million doses of the AstraZeneca shot, although half of those are now set to be donated to other countries. 

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No10 has committed to donating 100million doses of vaccines to COVAX by the middle of next year. 

This includes 30.6million of AstraZeneca this year and an extra 20m next year, as well as the 20m J&J.

But it has yet to reveal who will supply the other 30m jabs.

The UN-backed scheme has already handed vaccines to more than 100 countries including Ghana, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 

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Experts had called for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be offered to jab-sceptic Brits to boost uptake. 

Dr Al Edwards, an expert in biomedical technology at the University of Reading, told MailOnline this week: ‘Offering convenient services can be incredibly effective.’

‘Having one dose, instead of having one, and then having to book another one, that could help definitely.’ 

Professor Anna Whittaker, an expert in vaccines and behavioural medicine from the University of Stirling, said offering the single jab to the unvaccinated over 50s could offer them quicker protection as the country heads into winter.

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‘Generally if a vaccine has proven efficacy and safety in the age group concerned then it would be worth offering,’ she said.

‘Another advantage of a single dose (beyond reduced needles) is that full protection happens faster than a two-dose schedule.’

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The Johnson and Johnson jab was approved for use in the UK in May, although at the time officials did not say whether it would be used in the country. 

Both trials and real world data for the Johnson and Johnson jab has shown it is 85 per cent effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation.

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But there have been some reports of a rare neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, and some cases of blood clots associated with the vaccine.

This is similar to the risks associated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which works using similar technology.

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