Covid booster vaccine rollout to begin across UK next week


Covid booster vaccine rollout to begin across UK next week

Covid booster jabs will begin to be offered across the UK from next week.

It follows a recommendation from the government’s vaccine advisers, the JCVI, who said about 30m people should be offered a third dose.

They said the booster should be given at least six months after a person had their second dose – with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab recommended.

Those eligible include over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and care workers.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement in the Commons as part of an autumn and winter plan for managing Covid in England.

Scotland will begin offering booster jabs for the broader group from Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

She said the programme “was intended to prolong the protection” of vaccines and will run alongside the flu vaccination programme.

The go-ahead was also confirmed in Wales and  Northern Ireland.

The recommendation from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) comes amid concern about waning immunity.

There are some signs protection offered by the vaccine may start dropping off several months after the second dose – with the most vulnerable groups most at risk of this.

In his statement, Mr Javid told MPs: “There is evidence that the protection offered by Covid-19 vaccines reduces over time, particularly older people who are at greater risk, so booster doses are an important way of keeping the virus under control for the long term.”

The JCVI said it was still unclear exactly how much protection does slip, but it wanted to take a precautionary approach and ensure the most vulnerable people maintain high levels of protection.

The advice is separate to the recent recommendation of third doses for people with severely weakened immune systems – something that is already being rolled out.

Those eligible for a booster jab include:

  • Those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • All adults aged 50 years or over
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • All those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

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