Officials urge extra Covid booster jab for highest risk people from autumn

Covid Vaccine being prepared
The JCVI has also recommended the most vulnerable groups get another booster. Credit: PA

Health officials are recommending a fresh Covid booster vaccine rollout this autumn for people at the highest risk of severe illness, while warning uptake of the jab is slowing.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) also recommended the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and immunosuppressed, are prioritised for the extra booster jab from spring.

The JCVI has warned emergency surge vaccine responses may be required if a new variant of concern emerges with clinically significant biological differences from the Omicron variant.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: "The Covid-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS.

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"That is why we have advised planning for further booster vaccines for persons at higher risk of serious illness through an autumn booster programme later this year.

"We will very shortly also provide final advice on a spring booster programme for those at greatest risk."

The 2022 Covid booster campaign began in September 2021, and more than 82% of people aged 75 and over have received the jab since that rollout began.

Following high uptake rates for the initial booster dose across the general population in December 2021, further uptake has been low - at less than 0.1% per week - since April 2022 in all eligible people under 50 years of age, the JCVI said.

Uptake of a first dose has also plateaued in recent months across all age groups, the committee added.

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