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UK to give Covid booster jabs to at-risk group from September

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has been given the green light to roll out Covid vaccine booster programme for all the vulnerable populations in the country from September, the media reported.

Updated Jul 01, 2021 08:24 AM

UK to give Covid booster jabs to at-risk group from September

This move follows interim advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that boosters will help maintain protection against Covid-19 and new variants for those most at risk, before winter sets in, BBC reported on Wednesday.

As a bigger flu season than normal is expected, extra protection against Covid is likely to be needed.

The JCVI has advised to give a third Covid jab (and a flu jab) to adults aged 16 and over who are immunosuppressed or clinically extremely vulnerable; residents in care homes for older adults; all adults aged 70 and over; frontline health and social care workers.

After those groups, it will be all adults aged 50 and over; adults aged 16-49 who are in a flu or Covid-19 at-risk group and those living in the same house as people who are immunosuppressed.

"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," Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, was quoted as saying.

He said other respiratory viruses, particularly flu, "will make a comeback" and be an additional problem this winter.

"We will need to ensure protection against flu, as well as maintaining protection against Covid-19," Van-Tam said.

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 was quoted as saying.

The JCVI's final advice will be published before September, when better data will be available on how long protection from the first two doses of the vaccines lasts. The latest figures on hospitalisations, emerging variants and trials will also be taken into account at that point, and could change their advice, the BBC report said.

Younger adults will not be given a third dose, because they will only have had their second dose in the summer, although this decision will be revisited at a later time, the JCVI said.

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