UK advisers have indicated that there is currently no need to offer a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency indicates that the level of protection is still high three months after the booster vaccine in people aged over 65.
The figures show that the booster reduces the risk of hospitalisation by around 90% after three months. Protection against mild symptoms is lower. Three months after the third dose protection against minor symptoms stood at around 30%.
The research also underlined the importance of having a booster vaccine. With two doses of the vaccine, protection against hospitalisation was around 70% after 3 months and 50% after six months.
The JCVI, the panel that advises the government on vaccination, confirmed that the data from UK Health Security Agency highlights the need to prioritise first and second vaccines and booster doses for those who have not already had them.
All over 18s are now eligible for free boosters, with appointments available through pre-booked sessions at vaccination hubs, pharmacies, community health centres and faith centres, as well as walk-in facilities. More than 35 million third doses have now been given in the UK.
Prof Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI, explained that the current data indicates that the booster provides sufficient protection against serious disease, even in the older and more vulnerable groups. The data is “highly encouraging and emphasises the value of a booster jab.”
As the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly, Prof Lim added, it is hugely beneficial for those who have not yet had a booster or a first or second vaccine dose to come forward and have their jab.
Dr Abdul Azizi from Harley Private Dental in Sheffield said that they have noticed an increase in patients cancelling appointments who have not had their booster jabs.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, said that at the moment, the data is promising but confirmed that protection levels would be monitored closely. If there was a sudden drop in protection among older age groups and vulnerable individuals, it may be necessary to take “swift action.”
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