Frontline health and social care workers and vulnerable adults could be among the first people to be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine from September.
The NHS has been given the go ahead to start planning the booster programme, following interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The aim is to prolong the protection vaccines provide in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 ahead of the winter months, in a two-stage programme alongside the annual flu vaccination programme.
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.
In the meantime, the JCVI’s advice is to offer a third Covid jab (and a flu jab) to the following people from September 2021:
- 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, the vaccine will be offered to:
- all adults aged 50 and over
- adults aged 16-49 who are in a flu or Covid-19 at-risk group
- those living in the same house as people who are immunosuppressed
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The phenomenal vaccine rollout has already saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented millions of infections, helping to wrestle back control of the pandemic and ease lockdown restrictions so we can return to normal as soon as possible.
“We welcome this interim advice, which will help us ensure we are ready in our preparations for Autumn. We look forward to receiving the Committee’s final advice in due course.
“We need to learn to live with this virus. Our first COVID-19 vaccination programme is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster programme will protect this freedom. We are working with the NHS to make sure we can rapidly deliver this programme to maintain protection for people in the winter months.”