The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JSVI) is planning to offer Covid-19 booster vaccines from September 2021.
The jabs would be offered to millions of people who are most susceptible to poor outcomes of Covid-19, including all adults aged 50 and over and those who are considered to be clinically vulnerable.
So far, evidence suggests that two doses of any Covid vaccine provides strong protection from severe disease for at least six months. However, it is not yet clear how long this protection will last.
Booster jab prolong protection from the virus
Booster jabs will prolong the protection that the first and second vaccine provided, ensuring vulnerable adults are protected for as long as possible. This is particularly important ahead of the winter months, as experts predict that winter will lead to a rise in cases and further pressure on the NHS.
Booster jabs should also provide added protection against new variants, which are bound to emerge over the coming months.
The interim advice has not yet been finalised, but will be published before September pending further data from clinical trials such as Cov-Boost. The advice will also consider the latest epidemiological situation, real-time surveillance of the effectiveness of the vaccines over time, and emerging variants.
The government said they will continue to work closely with the NHS to ensure the rapid deployment of the booster programme, if and when it is necessary.
The JSVI is yet to confirm if and when younger adults would receive a third dose
The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “The phenomenal vaccine rollout has already saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented millions of infections, helping to wrestle back control of the pandemic and ease lockdown restrictions so we can return to normal as soon as possible.
“We welcome this interim advice, which will help us ensure we are ready in our preparations for autumn. We look forward to receiving the committee’s final advice in due course.
“We need to learn to live with this virus. Our first Covid-19 vaccination programme is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster programme will protect this freedom. We are working with the NHS to make sure we can rapidly deliver this programme to maintain protection for people in the winter months.”
The JSVI is yet to confirm if and when younger adults would receive their booster jab, since many will not receive their second vaccination until later in the summer. This will be considered by the JCVI when more information is available.