Coronavirus booster jabs ‘will keep virus at bay’ says Javid
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The Department of Health said the plan had been drawn up following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and will take place alongside the annual flu jab rollout. The NHS is preparing to start the booster programme in two stages from September. Vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a roaring success, with almost 85 percent of adults across the UK receiving a first dose and more than 62 percent getting both doses.
“We are now planning ahead to future-proof this progress and protect our most vulnerable from variants and flu ahead of the winter.
“Vaccines are the best way to stay on top of this virus and I urge everybody to take up the offer as soon as possible.”
The Government said that a final decision on whether a vaccine booster campaign was needed had not been made, but officials had advised that preparations should begin on a precautionary basis.
The JCVI advised the programme should take place in two stages, with the first round focusing on frontline health and social care workers, clinically vulnerable people, care home residents and those who are immunosuppressed.
UK to offer Covid vaccine booster shots from September – ‘Vulnerable’ set for third jab (Image: GETTY)
Boris Johnson is keen to get the population vaccinated as soon as possible (Image: GETTY)
All adults over 70 will also fall into this category.
Once these batches of people have been offered their booster vaccine, the next stage will concentrate on three categories.
These include all adults over 50, adults under 50 who are in high risk groups and adults living with immunosuppressed individuals.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said the Government wants 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.”
Youngsters queue for vaccines in Newcastle (Image: GETTY)
He said this would be especially needed during the autumn and winter seasons.
He called the announcement “good news” and said it shows the JCVI are “thinking carefully” about how best to protect the most vulnerable citizens during the coming months.
The UK continues to power ahead with its vaccine programme.
The latest data from the Government shows 44.7 million people have received their first dose and 32.8 million are fully inoculated with two jabs.
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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said booster shots will be offered to some vaccinated groups from September (Image: GETTY)
Nadhim Zahawi hailed the plan for booster shots (Image: GETTY)
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the JCVI’s Covid group, said the aim of any booster shot given to a person “should be to reduce serious disease, including death”.
He said offering a third jab to people already inoculated would maximise protection and “safeguard the NHS ahead of winter”.
He added: “Almost all these people would also be eligible for the annual flu vaccine and are strongly advised to have the flu vaccine.”
He said the JCVI would study data on the pandemic, levels of vaccine protection, new variants and results from trials on the efficacy of different booster shots in the week ahead.
UK coronavirus map (Image: EXPRESS)
One such booster jab known as Cov-Boost is being trialled at 18 research sites.
A wide range of vaccine recipients are taking part in the trial including those who have received the Pfizer, Valneva and Janssen vaccines.
He added: “Our final advice on booster vaccination may change substantially.”
The benefits of booster shots for younger people, many of whom are still getting their first and second shots, would be considered at a later date, the JCVI said.
A young woman receives a Covid jab in Newcastle (Image: GETTY)
The success of the vaccine rollout so far has seen Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledge to lift lockdown restrictions on July 19, even as cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant rise.
Sajid Javid, who was this week named as the new health minister, said: “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.”
Data suggests that the current vaccines provide protection for at least six months, with more studies about the length of immunity and the effectiveness of booster shots expected in the coming months.