The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that plans should be made for those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 to be offered a booster vaccination this autumn.
The JCVI also advised that for a smaller group of people, such as those who are older and those who are immunosuppressed, an extra booster vaccine dose in the spring should also be planned for. Emergency surge vaccine responses may be required should a novel variant of concern emerge with clinically significant biological differences compared to the Omicron variant.
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‘The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS,’ said Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 vaccination on the JCVI.
‘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.’
The 2022 COVID-19 autumn booster vaccination campaign commenced in early September last year. The most recent coverage data (15 January 2023) of the autumn booster programme in those aged 50 years and over is 64.5% and 82.4% in those aged 75 years and over. By the end of summer 2022, the coverage of the 2022 spring booster programme was 77.3% in those aged 75 years and over.
The JCVI has today advised that the offer of an initial booster dose should end when the current autumn campaign ends, which will be on Sunday 12 February.
‘Our phenomenal COVID vaccination programme has saved lives, allowed us to live with COVID, and eased pressure on the health service,’ said Health Minster Maria Caulfield.
‘I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t had their booster jab – whether it’s your first booster or if you’re eligible for an autumn booster – to come forward before Sunday 12 February. It will top up your immunity and keep you and your loved ones protected.’