vulnerable

Tens of Millions of Brits Will Be Offered Pfizer Booster Vaccine This Autumn

Millions of Brits, including the over-50s, people who are vulnerable, and NHS staff, will be offered a Pfizer booster vaccine this Autumn, even if their first two doses were from a different provider. MailOnline has the story.

Extra vaccines would be rolled out in two stages – prioritising those most at risk of Covid, before the programme is extended.

While patients were initially expected to be offered the jab they were originally inoculated with, it is understood all patients will be offered the Pfizer jab as it has proven to be the most effective against the Delta variant.

The Department of Health has yet to confirm the official details of the booster scheme, plans of which were first shared by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in June.

The JCVI is expected to issue its final advice in regards to the booster scheme in the coming months. 

A senior Government source also told the Times that those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine would “be getting an mRNA booster”. …

A U.K. Government-backed study published earlier this year found that mixing and matching Covid vaccines may result in higher protection against the virus.

People who had been vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s jab initially and then received a top-up with Pfizer’s had nine times more antibodies than those who stuck to the U.K. vaccine. …

The Government said analysis has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against the Delta variant while the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.

A study published this week also showed that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine could offer strong protection against the Delta variant.

Worth reading in full.

Four Million Vulnerable People Told to Avoid the Unvaccinated

Just after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Britain should take a step “closer to normal life”, almost four million clinically vulnerable people have been told by the Government to continue taking “additional precautions” to protect themselves against Covid, including avoiding those who have not been vaccinated. The i has the story.

Updated Government guidance issued on Monday for the 3.8 million people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable stops short of telling them to shield again, but warns them to take extra measures “when Covid disease levels in the general community are high”.

It says: “As someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch Covid, you may wish to think particularly carefully about additional precautions you might wish to continue to take.”

The guidance suggests people “limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with” and “consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated”.

Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable include people with some cancers, illnesses and severe respiratory conditions, who are deemed to be more at risk from Covid infection due to compromised immune systems.

Many are also not able to receive a Covid vaccine due to their health conditions. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament it was the “right time” to get the nation “closer to normal life” as he announced a relaxation of Covid rules for the non-vulnerable, but said a “new phase of continued caution” is needed as case numbers “sadly will get worse before they get better”.

Mr Javid said: “There are many people that are immunosuppressed or severely clinically vulnerable, and it is important that every stage of dealing with this pandemic that we are thinking of them and having them front of mind. 

“That is what I believe we have done. Of course, where the people in that category are able to take the vaccine, they should be able to do so.”

Critics have accused the Government of abandoning those most in need with the announcement, while charities said the situation for vulnerable people is “very concerning”. …

Rachel Winter Jones, who is clinically extremely vulnerable, said the changes made “no sense” for those who have children under the age of 18, for whom vaccines are currently unavailable. “What, so I can’t meet with my children?,” she told i. …

Previous rules on shielding were lifted in March, with the clinically extremely vulnerable told that “close contact with friends and family will be a personal choice” and that “it is important that you continue to be cautious when meeting others”.

Worth reading in full.