Vaccine advisers have suggested that booster jabs should now be available for over 40s in the UK.
The JCVI has advised the government to expand the current booster programme to cover individuals over the age of 40. The body has also recommended a second dose for 16 and 17-year-olds. Initially, the advice was to provide a single dose for this age group.
The booster scheme has been up and running since September across the UK and it is now rolling out to include the next age group. Previously, the booster was recommended for priority groups, including over 50s, health and social care workers, individuals with an underlying health condition and people living with vulnerable adults.
Now, over 40s will be able to book their booster once they are eligible. The third jab is given six months after the second dose.
The latest statistics show that 12.6 million people in the UK have had a booster vaccine. Research indicates that the risk of contracting Covid-19 drops by over 80% two weeks after the third jab.
People in the next age group, 40-49, will be given a third dose of Pfizer or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine.
The announcement from the JCVI has been welcomed by MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) chief executive, Dr June Raine. Dr Raine said that expanding the booster programme “further strengthens our ability to ensure people are protected against Covid-19 and saves lives.”
Scientific adviser, Professor Neil Ferguson, added that there was no reason not to provide a booster for all age groups and suggested that it “could make quite a big difference to driving down transmission to low levels.”
People who are eligible for the booster vaccine can book an appointment online. It is now possible to reserve a slot a month in advance and patients in England can also attend walk-in sessions without an appointment.
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