Following interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), millions of those most vulnerable to COVID-19 may be offered a booster vaccination from September to ensure the protection they have from first and second doses is maintained ahead of the winter and against new variants,
JCVI advice will be published before September and will take into account the latest epidemiological situation, additional scientific data from trials such as Cov-Boost and real-time surveillance of the effectiveness of the vaccines over time and emerging variants.
There is good evidence that two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine used in the UK will provide strong protection against severe disease for at least six months for the majority, and there is some evidence that longer lasting protection may be afforded to some. As is common with flu, winter will lead to rising cases and further pressure on the NHS. JCVI’s interim position on booster vaccinations is to ensure the protection that has been built up in the population does not decline through the winter months, and that immunity is maximised to provide additional resilience against variants.
The Government is working closely with the NHS to ensure that if a booster programme happens it can be deployed rapidly from September. Further details will be set out in due course. Further details of the flu vaccination programme will also be set out in due course.
The JCVI’s interim advice is that a third booster jab is offered to the following groups in two stages:
Stage 1. The following people should be offered a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine, as soon as possible from September 2021:
- adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed;
- those living in residential care homes for older adults;
- all adults aged 70 years or over;
- adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable;
- frontline health and social care workers.
Stage 2. The following people should be offered a third COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after Stage 1, with equal emphasis on deployment of the influenza vaccine where eligible:
- all adults aged 50 years and over
- all adults aged 16 – 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group as outlined in the Green Book
- Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
The government met its target of offering vaccination to the most vulnerable by 15 April and is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by 19 July, two weeks earlier than planned.
Everyone over the age of 18 and over is eligible to get a vaccine. By 19 July, all those aged 40 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, who received their first dose by mid-May, will have been offered their second dose.