Sumary of Covid booster jab to be offered to those at most risk and over-50s in UK:
- Prof Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said the UK’s vaccination programme had so far prevented an estimated 24m Covid infections and 112,000 deaths but warned “this pandemic is still active”.
- Further data from Public Health England shows that in fully vaccinated people aged 65 and over, protection against hospitalisation fell from more than 90% to a little under 90% over five months.
- The JCVI recommended that all over-50s, frontline health and social care workers, and at-risk groups receive a booster of the Pfizer jab regardless of the vaccine they received first time around, to be given at least six months after their second dose.
- The UK rollout of Covid vaccines started with the nine priority groups including elderly people, the clinically extremely vulnerable and health and social care workers in December last year, and immunity in these people is expected to have waned the most.
- Under the JCVI guidance, boosters will be offered to the same nine priority groups, working down the groups in order as before.
- The under-50s may not need booster shots as younger people tend to produce stronger immune responses, but the JCVI is to conduct more work on the question.
- The JCVI in turn was awaiting data from a number of major studies including the UK’s Cov-Boost study, which assessed the extra protection afforded by third doses of several different vaccines.