Covid booster campaign could be launched this autumn

·2-min read
People queue at a Covid vaccination centre at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
People queue at a Covid vaccination centre at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

A Covid booster vaccine campaign could be launched this autumn with those aged 65 and over, frontline workers and at risk groups encouraged to get the jab.

The UK Health Security Agency said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had advised the government to go ahead with the campaign.

It said: “The JCVI’s current view is that in autumn 2022, a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to: Residents in a care home for older adults and staff; Frontline health and social care workers; All those 65 years of age and over; Adults aged 16 to 64 years who are in a clinical risk group.

“We welcome the interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for an Autumn Covid boostger programme and will consider their final recommendations later this year.

“We have asked the NHS in England to begin preparations to ensure they are ready to deploy Covid vaccines to those eligible.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said last year’s autumn booster programme provided “excellent protection” against Covid-19.

He said: “Last year’s autumn booster vaccination programme provided excellent protection against severe Covid-19, including against the Omicron variant.

“We have provided interim advice on an autumn booster programme for 2022 so that the NHS and care homes are able to start the necessary operational planning, to enable high levels of protection for more vulnerable individuals and frontline healthcare staff over next winter.

“As we continue to review the scientific data, further updates to this advice will follow.”

A study released earlier this month found a fourth Covid-19 jab gave people protection “over and above” that afforded to people who three jabs.

Research is continuing to assess the levels of protection people have after vaccination and for the length of time this protection lasts.

A team of academics, led by the University of Southampton, are tracking a group of people and their levels of antibodies and T cells - both measures which indicate a person’s level of protection against a virus.

Trial lead Professor Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, said: “These results underline the benefits of the most vulnerable people receiving current spring boosters and gives confidence for any prospective autumn booster programme in the UK, if the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation considers it needed at that time.”

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