Extra Covid booster to be offered to UK's most vulnerable from spring, Javid announces

People aged 75 and over will be among those offered an extra booster jab. Credit: PA

An additional Covid-19 booster jab will be offered to the UK's most vulnerable to the virus from spring, the health secretary has announced.

Sajid Javid said he'd accepted advice from the government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which said a new booster will "maintain their protection against severe Covid-19".

An extra jab will be offered to people aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults, and people aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed.

The advice has been accepted by all four devolved nations, meaning the rollout from spring will be UK wide.

The health secretary said: “We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane over time. That’s why we’re offering a spring booster to those people at higher risk of serious Covid-19 to make sure they maintain a high level of protection.

"It’s important that everyone gets their top-up jabs as soon as they’re eligible."

An announcement is also expected on Boris Johnson's living with Covid plan, which is expected to see the removal of all coronavirus restrictions in England.

Who will be offered an extra booster and when?

  • All adults aged 75 years and over

  • Residents in a care home for older adults

  • individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed, as defined in in the Covid-19 healthcare guidance Green Book

From spring those individuals will be contacted by the NHS to arrange a vaccine appointment, which should come no sooner than six months after their previous dose.

The JCVI says it expects those people will be offered a further booster in the autumn of 2022, ahead of winter which it says is "the season when the threat from Covid-19 is greatest".

Mr Javid said the JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to further at-risk groups.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: “To maintain high levels of protection for the most vulnerable individuals in the population, an extra spring dose of vaccine is advised ahead of an expected autumn booster programme later this year. 

“The JCVI will continue its rolling review of the vaccination programme and the epidemiological situation, particularly in relation to the timing and value of doses for less vulnerable older adults and those in clinical risk groups ahead of autumn 2022.”

Which vaccine will people be offered?

  • Eligible adults aged 18 and over will get either a 50mcg Moderna vaccine or a 30mcg Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

  • Those aged 12 to 18 years will get a 30 mcg Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

What about jabs for five to 11 year olds?

Youngsters aged five to 11 across the UK will be offered their first Covid jab in April, it was announced last week.

The decision was made after the JCVI said children should be offered a low-dose Covid jab on a "non-urgent" basis.

They will be given a dose of 10 micrograms - a much lower dose than that offered to adults or children aged 12 and over.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Health Secretary Javid said he had "accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a non-urgent offer of Covid-19 vaccines to all children aged five to 11 in England.

“The NHS is already offering vaccines to at-risk children and those who live with immunosuppressed people in this age group."

He added: “The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of Covid-19 as we learn to live with this virus.”