Sajid Javid has said he is “confident” that a booster programme for coronavirus jabs can begin this month.
The health secretary told Kay Burley that he is awaiting advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which should come “certainly in the next few days” and he believes the process can begin in September.
His comments came as the boss of COVID vaccine maker AstraZeneca said booster jabs may not be needed for everyone in the UK.
Chief executive Pascal Soriot said a nationwide rollout of third doses could put additional pressures on the NHS during the winter.
The JCVI, which advises the government on who should possibly get a third dose, is said to be awaiting results from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s Cov-Boost study, which is trialling seven different booster jabs.
Data is expected to be presented to the advisory body this week before they then publish a decision.
The potential booster programme in the UK would give those most at risk from coronavirus extra protection ahead of the winter.
It would be designed to extend the already strong protection an individual has received from their first and second jabs.
Asked about the booster programme on Sky News on Wednesday, Mr Javid said: “In terms of who actually gets it and when, we’re waiting for final advice which could come across, certainly, in the next few days from the JCVI.”
He said the advice is expected to include information on whether people should get different vaccines to the ones they have already had or the same ones, adding: “I’m confident that we can start the booster programme this month.”