Booster jabs planned for over 50s from September

pharmafile | July 1, 2021 | News story | |   

The NHS is planning to offer COVID-19 booster shots to over 50s from September.

A third shot of the vaccine is thought to be needed to protect vulnerable people, experts are advising that 30 million of the most vulnerable should receive a third dose.

They will include all adults aged 50 and over, and anyone younger who qualifies for a flu jab.

Public health officials are also keen to offer the shots alongside winter flu jabs.

Interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that boosters will help maintain protection against Covid-19 and new variants for those most at risk, before winter comes.

Extra shots are seen as particularly important for vulnerable people whose immunity may have lessened since they had their shots, and to give additional protection against any variants that may be more resistant to vaccines.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “We want to be on the front foot for Covid-19 booster vaccination to keep the probability of loss of vaccine protection due to waning immunity or variants as low as possible. Especially over the coming autumn and winter.

“Fewer or no restrictions will mean that other respiratory viruses, particularly flu, will make a comeback and quite possibly be an additional problem this winter, so we will need to ensure protection against flu as well as maintaining protection against COVID-19.”

“We have to be driven by data, and there will be more data from vaccine booster studies for JCVI to look at over summer, so we should all remember that this advice is interim and might change between now and September.

“However, JCVI has clearly set out the broad direction of travel, which I agree with, and which ministers have accepted.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said ministers were working with the NHS to rapidly deliver the programme from September.

“Our first Covid-19 vaccination programme is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster programme will protect this freedom,” he said.

Lilly Subbotin

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