Health secretary Sajid Javid has suggested, following advice from the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), there could be another roll-out of booster vaccinations in the UK. This booster jab should be available to the wider general public, as opposed to limiting it to just the more vulnerable groups – like next week’s rollout of spring jabs are.
Mr Javid said that another booster dose is not likely to be extended to more people for the time being, but this could change as immunity subsides.
Speaking on ITV programme Peston, Sajid Javid said: “When it comes to vaccinations, I think we rightly take the advice of our clinicians.
“There’s a committee, it’s called the JCVI and we listen very carefully to what they’ve got to say.
He added: “They look at the data very, very carefully and their latest advice as you say is that there should be a second boost – or let’s call it a fourth dose – but to focus on those over 75, those in care homes, those who are immunosuppressed.
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“Now we will start that by the end of this month, that’s what we’ve said and we’re completely on track for that. But we listen to their advice all the time, should they come forward.”
Next week, the first of the spring booster jabs are due to be rolled out, but only to people aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults, and people aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed.
When will the fourth COVID-19 booster jabs be rolled out to the wider public?
Mr Javid suggested the fourth round of COVID-19 vaccination jabs – or second round of ‘boosters’ – could be made available to the wider public in Autumn.
Mr Javid said: “[The JCVI’s] most recent advice is that they think that towards the end of this year, maybe in the autumn, there will be a need to give a lot more people a boost, an offer of a boost, but I’ll wait for that advice.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said on its website: “Although vaccines are expected to provide good protection against severe Covid-19 disease, protection against mild infection with the Omicron variant seems to decline quickly, even after the booster dose.
“This spring booster is being offered as a precaution to those at extremely high risk, most of whom received their first booster around six months ago.
“If the number of infections increases over the summer, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.”
NHS England figures show 63 per cent of over-18s — or 31million out of 50million — have now had their third dose.
However, uptake varies widely by age group, with more than nine in 10 over-70s having had their third jab, compared to only a third of 18-29 year old’s reported to have done so.
Mr Javid said: “The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to further at-risk groups.
“This is a national mission – the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones and I urge everybody to get your jabs as soon as you can.
“For anyone who is yet to get a booster, come forward to get boosted now.”