Milestone as 14 million Covid booster jabs are administered across the UK

·3-min read

More than 14 million people in the UK have now received their Covid booster jab.

A total of 387,057 boosters and third doses were recorded on Friday, bringing the total to 14,266,368, with more than one million top-up jabs recorded since Tuesday.

The South East, North East and Yorkshire have now recorded more than 1.9 million top-up jabs, meaning they will soon join the Midlands, which this week reached the milestone of two million jabs delivered.

Also this week, the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to expand the booster programme to those aged 40-49 – meaning millions more people will be eligible to get their third dose from next week.

The Vaccines Minister, Maggie Throup, said: “The vaccine rollout continues full steam ahead with another incredible milestone achieved – 14 million people across the UK have come forward for a booster or third dose to top up their protection against Covid-19 this winter.

“If you are eligible, book in your jab or visit one of the hundreds of walk-in sites available across the country. Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to ensure we can all look forward to Christmas this year.”

While vaccines give high levels of protection, experts warn immunity reduces over time, particularly for older adults and at-risk groups.

The latest evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows protection against symptomatic disease falls from 65%, up to three months after the second dose; to 45% six months after the second dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

For the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine, immunity falls from 90% to 65% in the same window.

Meanwhile, protection against hospitalisation falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech between three and six months after the second dose.

Prime Minister’s Questions
The vaccines minister Maggie Throup has hailed the landmark of 14 million booster jabs being administered (Jessica Taylor/PA)

While those numbers may seem to show only modest decreases in protection, experts are quick to point out that a change from 95% to 90% protection against hospitalisation would lead to a doubling of admissions among the vaccinated population.

Last month, clinical guidance was updated to enable boosters to be given slightly earlier to those at highest risk.

For example, care home residents who may have received their second doses at different times can now be vaccinated in the same session, as long as it has been five months since their second dose.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests confidence in the vaccine is high, with 94% of those aged 50 to 69 saying they would be likely to get their booster if offered. The figure rises to 98% for those over 70.

Boosters have also been delivered or booked at every older adult care home in England, where safe to do so, with almost nine in 10 care homes already visited.

The Government is encouraging people book their flu vaccine through their GP or a pharmacy as winter approaches.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has also issued a reminder that first and second doses of the Covid vaccine are still available, free of charge, at more than 2,200 vaccination centres nationwide – with the vast majority of people living within 10 miles of one.

More than 50.7 million first doses and 46.1 million second doses have been given across the UK

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