Spring Covid booster: When is it available and who is eligible?

A dose of the new Moderna spikevax autumn Covid booster vaccine before it is administered (PA Wire)
A dose of the new Moderna spikevax autumn Covid booster vaccine before it is administered (PA Wire)

People who are more likely to develop severe Covid should be given a booster jab in the autumn, officials have said.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) also recommended that a smaller group of people, such as the elderly or immunosuppressed, should receive an additional booster in the spring.

It added that “emergency surge vaccine responses” to target more people may be required if a new Covid variant that is different enough from Omicron emerges.

More than 82 per cent of those aged 75 and over have had a Covid vaccine since the autumn booster campaign began in early September.

In total, 64.5 per cent of people 50 and older have received a booster shot.

But since April of last year, fewer than 0.1 per cent of those who were eligible had requested an initial third dose each week.

“The Covid-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS,” Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid vaccination on the JCVI, said.

“That is why we have advised planning for further booster vaccines for persons at higher risk of serious illness through an autumn booster programme later this year.”

When will the spring Covid booster scheme begin?

On February 12, 2023, the current autumn booster campaign in England will come to an end, and the first booster offer will go live.

Before then, everyone who qualifies to have the jab has been "strongly" urged to come forward.

The most recent Government statistics show that 15,749 people in England tested positive for Covid in the seven days leading up to January 14.

Some 814 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus within the same time period.

Who is eligible for the spring booster jab?

People over 50, the severely immunosuppressed, and frontline health and care workers are set to be prioritised as in previous booster campaigns.

Those who are eligible for a jab will receive an invitation. This will happen once people who are most at risk of Covid have been protected.

“We will very shortly provide final advice on a spring booster programme for those at greatest risk,” Prof Wei said on Wednesday.