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UK MPs press for wider Covid vaccine access amid concern over new variant

Government faces calls to consider extending booster programme this autumn to include 50-64 age group

Ministers are facing urgent calls to consider widening the availability of Covid vaccines amid concerns that a new variant of the virus could put pressure on the NHS and cause more sickness in the workforce this winter.

As new data appeared to show the Pirola variant spreading, Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay, the health secretary, were urged to rethink their decision to restrict vaccines to people aged 65 and over and vulnerable groups.

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