Covid-19 booster jabs to be given this spring to over 75s, care home residents and the immunosuppressed confirms NHS
Millions of people are to be offered another Covid-19 jab this spring.
The new booster campaign, suggested by experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, will offer an injection to those who remain at highest risk of severe illness if they were to catch the virus.
In January this year the committee, which advises UK health departments on immunisation, said that it felt preparations would be needed for both a spring and autumn coronavirus booster campaign in 2023.
The JCVI has since agreed that jabs in the spring should be offered to all adults aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults and all individuals aged five and over with weakened immune systems.
All those eligible will be given a vaccine - providing that it is around six months since their previous dose - with NHS England to begin confirming details for the spring roll out and how people will get an appointment shortly.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are among the available vaccinations expected to be used - with the jab offered dependent on a person's age and available supplies in each area.
Children aged under 12 years, says the Department of Health, who need a spring booster will be offered a children’s formulation of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of the JCVI’s COVID-19 Committee, said: "Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 and the spring booster programme provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up.
"This year’s spring programme will bridge the gap to the planned booster programme in the autumn, enabling those who are most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer."
After a brief dip at the start of the year, Covid-19 figures have been rising throughout February in many areas, which is thought to have been driven in part by a new more contagious variant of Omicron nicknamed 'the Kraken'.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: "Covid-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.
"It is important those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts."