Autumn Covid booster vaccines should be given to ALL over-65s

Autumn Covid booster vaccines should be given to ALL over-65s

May 19, 2022

Autumn Covid booster vaccines should be given to ALL over-65s, care home residents and staff, frontline NHS workers and vulnerable younger adults, No10’s jab advisers say

  • It means that millions of Britons will have had a fifth vaccine by next winter
  • NHS has been told to ensure the service is ‘ready to deploy’ when it begins
  • The JCVI’s eligibility list could still change before the programme kicks off

All over-65 should be offered a Covid booster jab this autumn, the Government’s scientific advisers said today.

Health chiefs called for care home residents and staff, frontline NHS workers and younger vulnerable adults to also be offered top-ups.

It means millions of Britons will have had a fifth vaccine by next winter, if ministers accept the recommendations. 

NHS bosses have been told to ensure the health service is ‘ready to deploy’ as soon as the immunity-boosting drive begins. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) eligibility list, which could still change before the programme eventually kicks off in September, is very similar to that for the annual flu vaccine.

Britain’s historic inoculation campaign, which began in December 2020 — just nine months after Covid was declared a pandemic, has drastically blunted the threat of the virus and saved tens of thousands of lives.

Experts say the milder nature of Omicron and the repeated waves of infection have also weakened the virus, making it no more lethal than flu. 

All over-65 should be offered a Covid booster jab this autumn, the Government’s scientific advisers said today. Health chiefs called for care home residents and staff, frontline NHS workers and younger vulnerable adults to also be offered top-ups

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: ‘Last year’s autumn booster vaccination programme provided excellent protection against severe Covid, 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 Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We welcome the interim advice from the JCVI for an Autumn Covid booster 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.’

Ministers have made no secret of plans for an annual Covid vaccination programme, which could cost in the region of £600million. 

It is expected that vaccines could eventually be rolled out every year in a similar way to the flu jabs, which Britons are invited for every September. 

SAGE scientists have also backed the strategy, insisting it will likely become part of the coronavirus’ gradual transition to becoming endemic. 

More than 142million vaccines have already been dished out since Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to get one outside of a clinical trial.

The 92-year-old grandmother, from Coventry, received her fourth dose as part of the spring top-up programme last month.

Over-75s, care home residents and patients with weak immune systems were invited for vaccines when the spring roll-out opened in March.

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