A fourth vaccine dose should be offered to all adults over-75 and the most vulnerable over-12s this spring and rolled out more widely in the autumn, vaccine advisory body the JCVI says. BBC News has more.
Many of the oldest received their latest shot back in the autumn and this extra dose will help top up protection against severe COVID-19.
An autumn booster programme, aimed at a wider group of people, is also planned.
The U.K. nations are expected to accept the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.
Up until now, only people with severely weakened immune systems had been eligible for a fourth dose – three doses plus a booster. Those now being offered a second booster this spring, to be administered six months after their previous dose, are:
• adults aged 75 years and over
• residents in a care home for older adults
• individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed
Adults will be offered a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine while children aged 12-18 will receive Pfizer.
Around 7.2 million people in the UK aged over 75, who have already had their primary course of Covid vaccines, will be eligible for the extra spring booster. Another half a million people who are immunosuppressed will also be eligible for the additional booster.
The JCVI said vaccinating these groups was a “precautionary” move and did not mean there was any current danger to their health.
It comes despite the emerging evidence from Israel that a fourth vaccine dose does little or nothing to reduce spread.
Flu vaccines are adapted each year to try to match the dominant strain of the virus. Even so, their efficacy is very variable. Why, then, are they still using the same Wuhan-based formulation for this vaccine, which successive variants have been progressively evading?
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