UK COVID booster plan for over 50s may be scrapped

pharmafile | August 20, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

Plans for a mass rollout of booster COVID vaccines for the over 50s this autumn may be shelved as the government considers limiting third dose to the most vulnerable.

The NHS has drawn up plans to roll out a booster programme from September, based on interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, however, sources close to the committee told The Telegraph there is limited evidence to support such an approach and a “far more restricted” group, focused on those most in need, may be targeted.

“Any booster programme will be based on the final advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Until we receive the independent JCVI advice, no decisions can be made on wider requirements for those who receive booster jabs”, a government spokesman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Earlier this month Oxford Vaccine Group chief, Andrew Pollard, said that a decision to boost should be based on scientific studies, and there had not been any evidence yet of an increase in severe disease or deaths among the fully vaccinated.

“There isn’t any reason at this moment to panic. We’re not seeing a problem with breakthrough severe disease,” he said at an online briefing with lawmakers.

“If there was any falloff in protection, it is something which will happen gradually, and it will be happening at a point where we can pick it up and be able to respond.”

Health minister Sajid Javid said he expected the booster programme was to begin in early September, pending final advice from officials.

Currently, over 47 million people in the UK have received their first dose, 41 million have had their second, with over 88 million vaccines being given in total.

Kat Jenkins

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