THE NHS is preparing to offer Covid booster jabs in England from next week, the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid told the Commons the government had accepted advice from the the JCVI that around 30 million people should be offered a third dose.
This includes over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and social care workers.
The Pfizer jab is recommended and it should be given at least six months after the second dose.
It is part of the UK government’s autumn and winter plan for managing Covid in England.
The recommendation from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) comes amid concern about waning immunity.
There are some signs protection offered by the vaccine may start dropping off several months after the second dose – with the most vulnerable groups most at risk of this.
In his statement, Mr Javid told MPs: “There is evidence that the protection offered by Covid-19 vaccines reduces over time, particularly older people who are at greater risk, so booster doses are an important way of keeping the virus under control for the long term.”
The JCVI said it was still unclear exactly how much protection does slip, but it wanted to take a precautionary approach and ensure the most vulnerable people maintain high levels of protection.
The advice is separate to the recent recommendation of third doses for people with severely weakened immune systems – something that is already being rolled out.
Those eligible for a booster jab include:
Those living in residential care homes for older adults
All adults aged 50 years or over
Frontline health and social care workers
All those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
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