Sajid Javid, Chancellor Rishi Sunak tells Sajid Jamvid that offering Covid booster jabs regularly to the nation could have significant cost implications for Treasury. This is despite Whitehall warnings about ‘doses not growing on trees’.

  • Rishi Sunak claims that cost concerns have been raised by regular Covid booster jabs
  • The Chancellor has warned against funding regular jabs as it could affect spending commitments
  • According to health bosses, regular coronavirus vaccines may be necessary 

Rishi Sunak told Sajid Javid today that the Treasury would be facing major costs if the coronavirus booster jab program was made a routine occurrence.

According to some reports, the Chancellor has warned Department of Health officials at recent meetings about how funding these jabs (should they be required every three to six weeks) could impact Government spending promises. 

The warnings of Whitehall were clear that these ‘doses’ don’t grow in trees and they will need to paid for by either cutting back on spending or increasing taxes.  

Rishi Sunak has told Sajid Javid that making the coronavirus booster jab programme a regular occurrence would have major cost implications for the Treasury, it was claimed today

Rishi Sunak told Sajid Javid, “Making the coronavirus booster jab program a routine occurrence would have significant cost implications for Treasury,” it was stated today.

The Chancellor is said to have warned officials from Mr Javid's department in recent meetings that funding the jabs - should they become needed every three to six months - could hit Government spending pledges

In recent meetings, Mr Javid’s Department was said to have been warned by the Chancellor that funding of jabs (should they be required once every three to six to months) could result in Government spending promises being broken.

Ministers and Heath Chiefs suggested that Covid boosters will be required repeatedly over the next few years. 

The Guardian was told by a Whitehall source that Mr Sunak didn’t oppose regular booster programmes, but he did express concerns over the costs and payment.          

Referring to meetings between the Chancellor and health officials, the source told the newspaper: ‘He made the point, rightly, that people would feel the effects of that spending in NHS and household budgets. 

“These doses are not able to grow on trees.” Worst case, Omicron will not be replaced by a different variant. If Omicron continues to work, there are billions of dollars in unanticipated costs.

According to reports, Mr Sunak warned that the government hasn’t included funding a booster program in its spending plans. 

The Government is set to raise an extra £12billion in taxes through its new health and social care levy which is supposed to boost the NHS and then social care.

However, there is always the possibility that a jab program will be a regular feature. This could lead to suspicions about ministers using the new levy for funding the rollout.   

Because the Government doesn’t disclose how much they pay for jabs, it is not clear how much a booster program would cost.   

But estimates have suggested that administering a jab every six months could cost £5billion a year.

Heath chiefs and ministers have suggested that Covid boosters are going to be needed repeatedly in the coming years. A vaccination centre is pictured in London yesterday

Ministers and chiefs of Heath have said that Covid boosters would be necessary repeatedly in the future. Yesterday, a London vaccination center was pictured 

The newspaper received information from a Treasury source that stated: “We will continue to do everything necessary to support our fight to combat Covid. We have also provided new funding to launch our booster campaign as soon as possible in order to protect Omicron citizens. We’ll also make sure that the money of taxpayers is used responsibly. 

The Department of Health had announced in December that it reached an agreement to provide additional Moderna and Pfizer vaccines over two years. 

That was in addition to 35million new doses of Pfizer ordered in August for delivery in the second half of next year, and the 60million Novavax and 7.5million GSK/Sanofi doses expected in 2022.

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said earlier this month that Brits ‘probably will’ have to get a coronavirus booster jab every year.