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Covid booster vaccines for UK over-50s announced as 30million to get third jab


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised ministers to give millions of older people a third vaccine to top up their immunity

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Booster vaccines will be offered to those 50 and over

Over-50s are expected to start receiving Covid booster jabs within days as the Government unveiled plans for a massive vaccination campaign this winter.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised ministers to give millions of older people a third vaccine dose, to top up their immunity agains the virus.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam confirmed the advice had gone to ministers as he warned of a “bumpy winter” ahead.

The NHS has been prepping for the approval of a booster programme – and the rollout could begin within days.

Around 30 million Brits are expected to be eligible for a booster, which includes all over-50s, NHS and care workers, and the clinically vulnerable.

The programme will follow a similar pattern to the original vaccine rollout, with people from the most vulnerable groups first in line for the jab.








Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam, with MHRA boss June Raine (R) and Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Professor Wei Shen Lim (L)
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Image:

POOL/AFP via Getty Images)



Brits will become eligible for their booster six months after their second dose of the jab, which is when experts think immunity may start to wane.

The third doses will be Pfizer if possible – even if you had AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines before.

The Moderna jab can also be used as a booster but the scientists have suggested using a half dose as it had fewer side effects.

Prof Van Tam said this decision was entirely focused on boosters – and other jabs remain safe for use.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 Immunisation for the JCVI, said: “The JCVI is advising that a booster dose be offered to the more vulnerable, to maximise individual protection ahead of an unpredictable winter.

“Most of these people will also be eligible for the annual flu vaccine and we strongly advise them to take up this offer as well.”

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference that “incredibly successful” vaccines had prevented an estimated 112,000 deaths and 24 million Covid-19 cases in the UK.

“But we also know that this pandemic is still active. We are not past the pandemic, we are in an active phase still.

“We know that this winter could quite possibly be bumpy at times and we know that other respiratory viruses such as flu and RSV are highly likely to make their returns.”





Boosters could even be given at the same time as a flu jab, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.

She told the briefing: “The data reviewed showed that giving the booster jabs with flu vaccines at the same time is safe and does not affect an individual’s immune response to either vaccine.

“Therefore, Covid-19 booster doses may be given at the same time as flu vaccines.”

The priority list is expected to follow the same pattern as the first phase of the rollout.

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. All those 75 years of age and over
  4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. All those 65 years of age and over
  6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. All those 60 years of age and over
  8. All those 55 years of age and over
  9. All those 50 years of age and over.

Experts plan to look at whether boosters should also be offered to healthy under-50s when there is more evidence.

The announcement comes as the Government was due to set out its blueprint for “living with the virus” through the winter.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to update MPs on the Covid blueprint later, followed by a press conference with Boris Johnson and top medics.





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