Spring Covid booster to be offered to those at highest risk of illness

Health chiefs have announced that over 75s and care home residents will be among those offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine in England and Wales this Spring. Others eligible for the jab – including immunosuppressed individuals and children aged five and over – will have the option to receive the vaccine approximately six months after their previous dose. Experts of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) COVID-19 Committee said the spring booster would offer an opportunity for vulnerable individuals to top-up their immune defences.

NHS England has yet to confirm the specific details of the roll-out, but all information is set to be confirmed at a later date.

The boosters available will include the Pfizer, Moderna and Sanofi/GSK vaccines, depending on local supply.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI’s Covid Committee, said: “Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and the spring booster programme provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up.

“This year’s spring programme will bridge the gap to the planned booster programme in the autumn, enabling those who are the most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer.”

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The Novavax monovalent (wild-type variant) vaccine will also be offered should all alternative products be deemed clinically unsuitable.

Children under the age of 12 who are immunosuppressed will be offered a version of the Pfizer/BioNTech tailored to younger age groups.

Doctor Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “COVID-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.

“It is important those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts.”

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