cientists are set to give the go-ahead within weeks for booster Covid-19 jab for millions of people in Britain.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said it is “highly likely” that there will be a vaccine booster programme.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s just the question of how we frame it. This will be decided over the next few weeks.
“I can’t definitively say that there will be because we have not made that decision yet, but it is highly likely.”
The experts on the JCVI are currently examining the best way to deliver the booster jab and whether it will have more effect if it involves mix-and-matching vaccines, for example people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab for their first and second doses could be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech innoculation as a booster.
The scientists are also awaiting the results of a major study on vaccinations to guide the booster plans which Prof Harnden stressed would see millions offered another jab.
Asked if boosters might not necessarily be for everyone, he replied: “Well again we need to look at all that data. What we don’t want to do is boost people and then find we have a new variant and we can’t boost them again because we’ve boosted them too soon and those people might not have needed the booster in the first place.
“So there’s a lot of very complicated modelling and data analysis that is going on about this at the moment.”
He said “strong” advice will be given to the Government and that it will be up to ministers to make the final decision after the JCVI recommendation.
Prof Harnden emphasised that the decision on whether to offer the Covid jab to 12 to 15-year-olds was highly complex, and the committee was currently analysing the pros and cons before making its recommendation.