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A vaccine booster programme has been given the green light ahead of winter for those most vulnerable. Advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that boosters will help maintain protection against COVID-19 and new variants for those most at risk.
A booster programme will be designed to help protect as many vulnerable people as possible said the Department of Health and Social Care.
The programme wants to protect those deemed vulnerable from becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 upon the winter period.
As is common with flu, winter leads to rising cases of COVID-19 with worries there may be added pressure on the NHS.
It’s been said that Covid vaccines last for at least six months with added risk in the winter period increasing due to a person’s immunity decreasing.
The booster programme hopes to ensure the protection that has been built up in the population does not decline through winter months.
The programme hopes that immunity will be maximised to provide additional resilience against variants.
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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a two-stage Covid vaccine programme starting in September and will take place alongside flu vaccinations.
The JCVI laid out the order of priority for groups of people receiving their third vaccine dose later this year in interim advice published today, with GPs among the top priority groups.
The JCVI’s interim advice is to plan to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines from September 2021, in order to prolong the protection that vaccines provide in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 ahead of the winter months.
Stage two includes the over-50s, all those aged 16-49 in a flu or Covid ‘at-risk group’ and the adult household contacts of the immunosuppressed, it added.
These groups “should be offered a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the influenza vaccine where eligible”, it said.
The JCVI added: “As most younger adults will only receive their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer, the benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered at a later time when more information is available.
“The initial objective for winter 2021/22 is for persons in booster stages one and two to receive their influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in good time.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “We welcome this interim advice, which will help us ensure we are ready in our preparations for autumn.
“We look forward to receiving the committee’s final advice in due course.
“We are working with the NHS to make sure we can rapidly deliver this programme to maintain protection for people in the winter months.”
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