Covid boosters jabs get green light – are YOU eligible?
COVID booster vaccines have been given the go-ahead for some Brits.
It will bolster immunity in the population ahead of a winter that is expected to be “bumpy” at times.
Some 30 million people will be eligible for a third shot under the JCVI recommendation, outlined today.
And they could be invited in a matter of days, as the NHS has been gearing up for the next phase of the vaccine programme for a while.
People have been advised they must also get their flu vaccine if invited. They may even be invited to get it on the same day as their Covid booster shot, and have one in each arm.
Three vaccines have been approved as safe and effective as Covid boosters – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna – by the drug regulator the MHRA.
But the JCVI have decided to opt for Pfizer as a preference after studies showed it is well tolerated and works well as a booster.
If necessary, Moderna may be used as an alternative, but as a half-dose.
People should receive their third booster dose at least six months after they received their second dose of a Covid vaccine.
When there is more data, experts plan to look at whether boosters should also be offered to healthy people under the age of 50.
But at the moment, it is not considered necessary given that most people under 50 had their second shot over the summer.
So who will get a booster vaccine?
All adults aged 50 years or over
Every adult over the age of 50 will be invited for a third dose because Covid mortality has always been highest in those of older generations.
Care home residents
Care homes have been obliterated by Covid disease, as the environment makes it a perfect place for the virus to spread.
Therefore all residents in elderly care homes will get another shot.
Frontline health and social care workers
Healthcare workers on the frontline are more at risk of coronavirus disease regardless of age, and therefore spreading it to patients.
They will be invited for a third dose.
It comes after the Government launched a six-week consultation on making vaccination a compulsory for health and social care staff.
Over 16s with underlying health conditions
People in this category are at higher risk of severe Covid.
They include those with blood cancer, diabetes, dementia, kidney disease, liver disease, organ transplant recipient, obesity, and severe asthma.
Adults living with immunosuppressed
Adults who live with someone who is at increased risk of Covid due to their immune system being suppressed will be eligible for a booster vaccine.
Vulnerable people over 12
People over 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose will get a third shot under JCVI advice.
It includes those with leukaemia, advanced HIV and recent organ transplants.
These people may not mount a full response to vaccination and therefore may be less protected than the wider population, already with a higher risk of Covid due to their condition.
But these doses are considered separate from the booster campaign, because many people who are immunosuppressed had very low antibody levels after just two doses.
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