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JCVI recommends spring COVID-19 booster for those at highest risk

Eligible individuals will be offered the booster around six months after their previous dose

COVID-19 vaccine bottle

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the UK government that those at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered an extra booster vaccination this spring.

This includes adults aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults, and individuals aged five years and over who are immunosuppressed.

Eligible individuals will be offered the booster around six months after their previous dose, with NHS England due to confirm the operational details for the programme shortly. Scotland has yet to announce plans for its booster campaign.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “COVID-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.

“It is important that those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts.”

Included in its advice, the JCVI recommends that vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Sanofi/GSK and Novavax can be used for the spring programme.

As with previous campaigns, the vaccine offered will depend on a person’s age and local supply considerations, with all eligible children aged under 12 years to be offered a children’s formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI’s COVID-19 committee, said: “Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and the spring booster programme provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up.”

The committee has already advised that an autumn booster should be given to those at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, with Lim saying that a spring booster would “bridge the gap” between the two programmes and allow those who are most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer.

The advice represents the JCVI’s new scaled-back approach for future vaccination campaigns, prioritising boosters only for those considered to be at risk of serious illness.

It has also recently outlined that an emergency surge vaccine response may be required if a new variant of concern emerges that has clinically significant biological differences from the Omicron variant.

Article by
Emily Kimber

8th March 2023

From: Regulatory



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