Covid-19: UK's vaccine pledge and volunteers join booster jab trial

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. UK makes vaccine-donation pledge

The UK will donate more than 100m surplus coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer countries in the next year, starting in the coming weeks, says Boris Johnson. The prime minister is urging fellow G7 leaders to make similar pledges, ahead of the summit in Cornwall. US President Joe Biden is promising 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses "no strings attached" to 92 low and middle-income countries and the African Union. Campaigners say more needs to be done, quickly.

image copyrightPA Media

2. Higher spending helps economy grow

The UK economy grew 2.3% in April, its highest monthly rate since July last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. It says consumers bought more cars and increased spending both on the High Street and in pubs, cafes and restaurants. Despite the surge in activity, the UK economy is still 3.7% below its pre-pandemic peak.

media captionBusiness reporter Lora Jones looks at what countries can do about their pandemic debt

3. Why we may have to wait for Freedom Day

Monday was intended to be the moment when the government declared the pandemic was effectively over in England by giving a week's notice that all restrictions would end on 21 June. But that prospect looks increasingly unlikely following the rise of the Delta variant, says our health correspondent Nick Triggle. Read his analysis.

4. Low vaccine supplies 'could hamper roll-out'

Pfizer vaccine supplies will be "tight" over the next few weeks and will restrict the vaccination programme, the Scottish health secretary has warned. Humza Yousaf has written to his UK government counterpart, Matt Hancock, to ask what can be done to increase supplies, in light of advice from scientists that people under 40 should be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine if one is available.

image copyrightReuters
image captionAbout 77% of adults in Scotland have received at least a first dose of a Covid vaccine

5. Volunteers join booster vaccines trial

With people at 18 sites across the UK taking part in a booster-dose trial, volunteers in Wrexham have been among those getting a third Covid vaccine jab. Sue Cusack was among the first. "I wasn't nervous, it was more exciting really," she tells us. "It felt special to be part of the process which means that other people can have it in the future."

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

As football's European Championships get under way, remind yourself of the rules on getting together with friends to watch the games.

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