The booster programme must be rolled out in order to stop schools from closing, the vaccines minister has said.

Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News: “The right thing is that we open schools, we’ve opened them well with a really comprehensive testing programme. But we want them to stay open and the way you do that is by protecting the most vulnerable which is why my focus is on the booster programme.”

Zahawi did not rule out an extended October half term as a firebreak that is being reported by some outlets this morning, but said it would be the “worst” option.

He said: “I don’t want to adjust the half term or go back to any form of lockdowns. That’s the worst thing we can do to the economy and people’s livelihoods.”

A senior government scientist and Sage member reportedly told the I-paper that the UK is about to enter “an extended peak” of infections and hospitalisations which could force ministers to re-introduce restrictions over the school half-term period at the end of next month.


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