- Starting next week, 32 million Britons will be given booster COVID jabs six months after their second injection
- But currently only 5% of the group is eligible, while the rest were double-jabbed less than six months ago
- And it will take until Christmas to give a third dose to all of those, some of whom haven’t been fully immunized until June.
- Experts said that waiting for six months is not a cause for concern as people will choke on their nose when their immunity starts decreasing.
- But he warned that this could be a problem for a ‘small number’ of vulnerable people whose immunity drops rapidly.
- It comes as officials said booster jabs are necessary to ‘keep a lid’ on the pandemic this winter
With only 1.6 million Britons currently eligible for Covid booster vaccines, official figures show No10 is set to kick off the top-up drive next week.
Health chiefs yesterday unveiled plans to offer a third dose to more than 32 million 50s, frontline NHS workers and 16 more considered extremely vulnerable.
According to officials who signed the move due to weak immunity, people will be invited for boosters only six months after getting their second jab as it appears to be a ‘sweet spot’.
But Department of Health figures show that only 1.6 million people in the UK, mainly caring for domestic residents and frontline health workers, were fully vaccinated as of 15 March.
The UK did not breach the 30 million mark until June, meaning the campaign will not be open to millions of vulnerable adults until very close to Christmas.
Experts told MailOnline that the decision to delay the booster by six months should not be a cause for concern because the gap means people are given only a top-up dose as their immunity begins to wane.
But he warned that this could be a problem for a “small number” of older and vulnerable people whose immunity drops faster than expected.
Official figures show that only 1.6 million people in the UK received their second jab six months earlier, on 15 March. And the first 32 million people weren’t fully immunized until June 24. However, this figure would include hundreds of thousands under 50s, as the uptake is not 100 percent among those eligible for the third dose. Boosters should be given at least six months after the second dose, meaning the majority in the group cannot be jawed until November and December
The program will be rolled out for priority groups as before (priority list in the first phase of the vaccine campaign starting in December). This means care home residents, health and social care workers, people over the age of 50, people aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID Preference will be given to , adult caregivers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed persons.
A booster dose of the Pfizer jab, or half the dose of Moderna, will be given to eligible people starting next week, regardless of whether they initially received the jab.
For people who can’t get either of those two mRNA jabs, such as because of allergies, they will be given a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The jabs will be distributed through vaccination centers, primary care networks and pharmacies and may be given at the same time as annual flu jabs.
Health department officials said the booster campaign would “ensure that protection vaccines are made available for people at risk of serious illness from Covid during the winter months.”
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