BRITS are set to be given top up Covid jabs this winter with the "real risk" of future variants emerging, Sajid Javid said today.
The health secretary said it's "likely" a fourth shot will be rolled out to many adults towards the end of the year.
But he said it's still too early to say whether another mass vaccination campaign for the entire population will be needed.
Mr Javid said jabs will remain Britain's "primary defence" against future outbreaks of the virus.
The health sec was asked about the possibility of fourth doses being dished out to all over-50s later on this year.
He replied: "I think it's likely there will be one in the winter, but we can't say at this point for what age group that will be.
"Clearly Covid is not over. We might want to be done with Covid, but it's certainly not done with us.
"There is a real risk of future variants. They may be dangerous, they may not, but we've got to be ready.
"Of course we do need to remain vigilant so that means we keep a hold of our primary defences, especially vaccines."
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And today a top scientists also said there's a "strong possibility" Covid jabs will be given every autumn like flu vaccines.
Professor Adam Finn, who's a member of the JCVI advisory group, said future booster campaigns would target the "most at risk".
He added: "Whether that goes on year after year like the flu programme is an open question and depends on what coronavirus does to us in the interim.
"But it's a strong possibility that we may have a winter-time campaign, combined with the flu vaccine campaign, going forward."
The remarks came after the PM yesterday ditched all remaining restrictions as part of plans to live with the virus.
Mr Javid hailed the move as a "historic day" for the UK and said we're now one of the freest countries in the world.
He also praised the British people for their response to the pandemic and said "it's a moment we can all be proud of".
The health sec said that "restrictions were never intended to become a way of life" and pointed out they "came at a huge cost".
But he didn't deny reports of a rift with Chancellor Rishi Sunak over how long the Government should keep free tests.
Yesterday the Cabinet agreed people will have to start paying for lateral flow kits from April 1.
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