When will I get Covid vaccine as second doses sped up over fears of Indian variant in UK

There is currently no evidence to suggest existing vaccines do not work against the Indian variant, which has been found in the UK.. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

The government will speed up its efforts to give second Covid vaccine doses for certain groups of people to tackle the Indian variant in the UK, Boris Johnson has announced.

The move comes as a surge of infections caused by the Indian Covid-19 variant continues to grow.

But there is currently no evidence to suggest existing vaccines do not work against it.

Who will be able to get second vaccine doses sooner? Boris Johnson has said that remaining second doses for the over-50s and clinically vulnerable will be accelerated.

This will be achieved by shortening the time between their first and second doses.

What is the change in time between the first and second doses?

Over-50s and clinically vulnerable get their second vaccine jab eight weeks, rather than 12 weeks, after their first jab.

The prime minister said: "I believe we should trust in our vaccines to protect the public whilst monitoring the situation as it develops very closely because the race between our vaccination programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter and it’s more important than ever therefore that people get the protection of a second dose.

"So following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation we will accelerate remaining second doses to the over-50s and those clinically vulnerable right across the country so those doses come just eight weeks after the first dose.”

Will it impact first doses for younger people?

No, Professor Chris Whitty said the rollout of first doses to younger age groups is not expected to be delayed as the second doses are accelerated.

The chief medical officer for England told the Downing Street press conference on Friday: “The prioritisation of second doses will not, we think, delay the situation, the rollout, for people who are in younger ages.”

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Where has the Indian variant been found? And what is happening in those areas?

The PM said the army would be deployed on the streets of Blackburn and Bolton, handing out tests to help the surge testing efforts.

Surge testing is currently taking place in 15 areas across England, including Bolton, Blackburn, London, Sefton and Nottingham - where Public Health England (PHE) officials are working to contain any clusters.

In Bolton, which has one of the highest case rates of the variant in the country, mobile testing units have been deployed and door-to-door PCR Covid testing has been offered to 22,000 residents.

There will also be an acceleration of the vaccine rollout there, including longer opening hours at vaccination centres.