More than 30 million people are to be offered a COVID booster jab as part of government plans to “live with the virus” throughout the winter.
Following final recommendations provided by the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, all over 50, clinically vulnerable individuals and healthcare workers will be offered a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine in the coming weeks – whether they have been given the first Whatever jabs you get. Year.
Only those individuals from the top nine priority groups who have been completely weaned for more than six months will be eligible for the booster. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered as a full dose, while Moderna Vaccine will be offered as a half dose due to lack of supply.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated that the two mRNA vaccines are safe to use as boosters and are well tolerated, while separate research has found that both jabs elicit a high immunological response. provide.
MHRA has also given green light to introduce flu vaccines similar to the Covid-19 booster jab. The vaccine is to be offered as a nasal spray or jab to more than 35 million people this winter amid fears of a resurgence in influenza cases.
MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said administering both the COVID and flu jab at the same time is safe and “does not affect a person’s immune response” to either vaccine.
Senior health officials have said that starting the winter COVID booster program does not mean that top-up doses will be provided every six months. JCVI will be tasked with determining whether boosters will be needed each year, although a decision on this is not expected to be made until next year.
A decrease in antibody levels has been observed in people vaccinated at the beginning of the year, although the vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death.
JCVI Professor Wei Shen Lim said the recommendation of at least a six-month gap between the second jab and the booster shot was an attempt to find a “sweet spot”.
“Getting booster doses too early can mean getting vaccinated when they don’t really need vaccinations, because they still have a high level of protection,” he said at a Downing Street press conference.
“And, as we’ve seen with the first and second doses, it may be that the longer interval for the third booster dose is actually beneficial in the longer term.” However, he added, “we don’t want to wait too long.”
It is hoped that the boosters will maintain high protection levels throughout the winter, when cases are expected to rise as people spend more time indoors and are given more opportunities for the virus to spread.
“We have not progressed from the pandemic, we are still in an active phase,” said Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer. “This winter could possibly be rough at times”.
Although research and clinical trials have shown that a third booster dose increases a person’s antibody levels, it is still unclear how much additional benefit this would provide in protecting against serious illness and death.
Senior government health officials have admitted they do not know how the booster program will affect hospitalizations due to the paucity of data, but “there is every reason to believe it will be good”.
Data released Monday by the Office for National Statistics showed that only 59 people who died in the first six months of the year were fully vaccinated and who were not extremely clinically vulnerable. Were. A total of 51,281 Kovid deaths occurred during this period.
The head of the Covax facility, a global vaccine-sharing initiative set up to secure doses for poor countries, said on Monday Granthshala That the UK booster program would be “counter-productive”.
She argued that the supplies used in Britain between 30 million would be put to better use in protecting people in poor countries who live without vaccinations.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /