An extra 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus jab have been secured by the UK Government for a booster vaccination programme in the autumn.
Officials are preparing a booster programme based on clinical need to ensure people have the strongest possible protection against the virus, according to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
This additional stock of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab – which has been rolled out in the UK since December – will be used alongside other approved vaccines for the booster programme.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our vaccination programme is bringing back our freedom, but the biggest risk to that progress is the risk posed by a new variant.
“We’re working on our plans for booster shots, which are the best way to keep us safe and free while we get this disease under control across the whole world.
“These further 60 million doses will be used, alongside others, as part of our booster programme from later this year, so we can protect the progress that we’ve all made.”
The Government said it will publish further details on the booster programme in due course, with the policy informed by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
It will also assess the results of clinical trials which have studied the use of different combinations of approved vaccines.
It comes as offical figures revealed at least 10,078 people have died in Scotland with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
On Wednesday, National Records of Scotland revealed there were 23 deaths linked to Covid registered between April 19-25, a fall of one from the previous week.
Of the new NRS figures, the majority were in hospital at 18, with three in care homes and two at home or in non-institutional settings.
There were seven deaths in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, as well as four in Lanarkshire and three in both Lothian and Tayside.
At council level, the highest number of deaths occurred in Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire, each registering three.
NRS also reported that 39% of the deaths were of people aged 75 and over, with 35% under 65.
Out of the 23 deaths, 70% were male and 30% were female.
Pete Whitehouse, director of statistical services at NRS, said: “The latest figures show another slight reduction in deaths where Covid-19 has been the underlying cause or a contributory factor, but every single death remains a tragedy.
“We know families, friends, and communities across the country are still being affected by the loss of loved ones due to this virus.
“Of these deaths, a majority of 18 occurred in hospitals, with three deaths in care homes, and two deaths occurring at home or in non-institutional settings.
“The 1103 deaths from all causes registered last week remains slightly above the five-year average, an increase of 3% compared to 2015-2019.”