Half the population will be offered a third Covid jab alongside the flu vaccine to reduce the risk of more restrictions this winter.
Under fresh guidance issued by Downing Street, tens of millions of Britons could be offered a third Covid vaccination as soon as September.
The JCVI’s interim advice is to plan to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines from September 2021, in order to prolong the protection that vaccines provide in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 ahead of the winter months.
The 2-stage programme would take place alongside the annual flu vaccination programme. Further details of the flu vaccination programme will be set out in due course.
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.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said that getting through the winter without returning to lockdown was “heavily dependent” on keeping protection from vaccines high.