Government expands booster rollout to include over 40s

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Friday 19th November 2021

The government is expanding the Covid booster vaccine rollout to cover all adults over 40 following advice from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation).

The booster scheme has so far been open to over 50s, health and social care workers, younger adults with underlying health conditions and individuals who live with vulnerable adults. Now, ministers are inviting over 40s to come forward for their third jab. 

Figures show that over 12.5 million people in the UK have had a booster vaccine and the NHS is ramping up the programme to ensure that everyone who is eligible for the jab has access to it. In England, walk-in centres are providing boosters without an appointment and people who are eligible for the vaccine can now book their appointment a month before the six month period elapses after the second vaccine. Adults who have a booster will be given a dose of Pfizer or a half-dose of Moderna. 

The JCVI has also recommended a second dose of the vaccine for 16 and 17-year-olds. Previously, only one dose was advised but experts are now more confident of the safety and efficacy of the jab for teenagers. Younger children aged 12-15 will continue to be offered a single dose. 

In a conference on Monday November 15th, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, encouraged anyone who is eligible for the booster vaccine to come forward, as well as those who haven’t yet had their first or second dose. Talking about Christmas, Prof Van-Tam said that high booster rates would reduce the risk of needing additional measures and restrictions. 
Research suggests that the third vaccine can lower the risk of catching Covid by over 90% and the risk of hospitalisation and death by even more.

The third vaccine is available six months after the second dose. People who are waiting for their booster can now book a slot online a month before their appointment for the third jab is due.

ribing it as “really important protection ahead of what we will know will be a challenging winter.”