Over Fifties To Get Covid Booster This Autumn
Covid booster vaccines will be offered to everyone over 50 this autumn to enhance immunity and reduce severe illness risks.
Boosters will also be provided to young people at high risk of Covid, as well as to health and social care workers.
In order to address newer variants, pharmaceutical companies have developed updated vaccines, but it is still unclear which vaccine will be used.
It was originally planned not to vaccinate healthy people between the ages of 50 and 65.
Due to the fast spread of current variants, uncertainty about how the virus will mutate, and the fact that we are likely to be more social this winter than previous ones, the immunization campaign has been expanded.
Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which advises governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has updated its advice.
It suggests that the booster be offered to:
- Social workers and health care workers
- Everyone over the age of 50
- Those over 16 years of age who care for others
- Pregnant women and people over five who are at a heightened risk because of their health
- Shared houses with people with weakened immune systems over the age of five
There has been no confirmation of the details of the rollout, but it is likely that immunization will begin in September with the oldest and most vulnerable.
The Covid vaccine will be administered for the sixth time.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the JCVI, said: “The Covid-19 boosters are highly effective at boosting immunity. By offering a further dose to those at higher risk of severe illness this autumn, we hope to reduce hospitalisations and deaths.”
The current wave of Covid – caused by the sub-variants of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 – demonstrates the speed the virus can spread. It is the third wave of Omicron subvariants this year and one in 18 people in the UK are currently testing positive.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today we have confirmed the next phase in our booster programme to keep our defences strong over autumn and winter.
“Vaccines were our way out of this pandemic, and now they will make sure Covid can never haunt us in the same way again.”
Additionally The flu vaccine in England will also be offered to all adults aged 50 and over, the usual high-risk groups and now to schoolchildren up to Year 9 in secondary school.
The Covid restrictions have meant we have barely had a flu season since the pandemic started. However, the concern is this year could be the first time we face substantial waves of both viruses at the same time.
Dr Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at the U
K Health Security Agency, said: “Widening the eligibility for the flu vaccine will help reduce the number of people getting seriously ill and ease pressures on the NHS, particularly during the busy winter period.”