UK

Lockdowns through the winter will be an “absolutely last resort”, the vaccines minister has told Sky News.

Nadhim Zahawi said the government will instead rely on vaccines to shift COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic status.

He told Sky News: “Lockdowns will be an absolutely last resort.

“What we’re trying to do at the moment is to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic through a massive vaccination programme.”

Mr Zahawi’s comments came ahead of Boris Johnson announcing a winter plan later today to fight COVID-19, including booster jabs and flu vaccinations.

And last night, the vaccines minister announced the government has approved a recommendation by UK medical officers to offer a vaccine to 12-15 year olds.

Mr Zahawi added: “Lockdowns were our only tool, that is no longer true.

More on Covid-19

“We have the vaccines, we have the test and trace system, we have the variant surveillance system, we have the public health advice that people of all ages have followed really really diligently, which has allowed us to take steps forward, to reopen our economy.

“And the booster campaign, with flu, will help us protect the most vulnerable as we transition.”

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