An expert panel said that this winter, a booster is needed to prevent the loss of immunity.
london – The UK said on Tuesday it would offer a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all people over the age of 50 and other vulnerable people, an expert panel said this winter to protect against eroding immunity. needed a booster.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers that the government has accepted the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization and will start offering booster shots next week. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy countries to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of its population.
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“JCVI is advising that a booster dose be offered to the more vulnerable to maximize personal protection before an unexpected winter,” Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the panel, said during a media briefing. “Most of these people will also be eligible for the annual flu vaccine and we strongly recommend them to take up this offer as well.”
The JCVI said booster shots were needed to ensure that vulnerable people are protected from COVID-19, as studies have shown that the immunity given by vaccines weakens over time. The panel recommended that everyone over the age of 50, as well as health care workers, people with underlying health conditions, and people who live with immunosuppressed people, receive a second dose of the vaccine at least six months after a booster. get shot.
The move comes despite the WHO’s appeal to delay the booster dose amid a global vaccine shortage. The agency said COVID-19 will continue to threaten people everywhere until all countries have vaccinated enough people to harbor the potentially dangerous new variant.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated the call last week because earlier appeals were widely ignored.
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“I will not be silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” he said on 8 September. “Because manufacturers have prioritized or are legally obligated to complete bilateral deals with rich countries. less willing to pay top dollar, low-income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people. “
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van Tam, said at least nine countries have already announced booster programs and 18 others are considering doing so.
Israel is already providing a booster dose to a wide range of people who have received a complete two-dose regimen. US health officials are continuing to assess the science and usefulness of the booster.
WHO officials emphasize that the scientific justification for the booster is unclear.
Van Tam said the panel was mindful of the appeal to share the vaccine, but the panel’s primary responsibility was to the UK
“Certainly as public health people we take a very strong view that it is important that the whole world has access to vaccines and until everyone has access, none of us is completely safe. We get that,” Van Tam told the briefing. “By the same token, the task given to us is to define what is best for the UK, and that is what JCVI has done.”
Oxford University professor Sarah Gilbert told The Telegraph newspaper last week that immunity to the vaccine was holding up well – even against the delta variant. While the elderly and immune-compromised people may need boosters, the standard two-dose regimen is providing lasting protection for most people, she said.
The panel said the Pfizer vaccine should be the primary alternative to booster shots, with half the dose of Moderna as an alternative. That’s because these messenger RNA vaccines are more effective as booster shots, JCVI said. The AstraZeneca shot, which is based on a different technology, will be offered to anyone who cannot receive the RNA vaccine for clinical reasons.