The government confirmed on 14 September 2021, that it has accepted the final advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer millions of vulnerable people a COVID-19 booster vaccine from next week. (This includes adult family Carers and parent carers)
The programme will be rolled out to the same priority groups as previously. This means care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals will be prioritised.
However, there will be flexibility in the programme, allowing all those eligible to receive their booster from 6 months after their second doses. This approach will allow more vulnerable people to be given their boosters quicker.
The move will ensure the protection vaccines provide for those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be maintained over the winter months.
Data published by ONS yesterday shows people who have not been vaccinated account for around 99% of all deaths involving COVID-19 in England in the first half of this year. All 4 nations of the UK will follow the JCVI’s advice.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“I urge all those eligible to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as they can, so you have the strongest possible protection over the winter months.
Vaccinations will begin next week and the NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine.”
The JCVI has also advised that the flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered. The NHS will now consider where it’s appropriate for co-administration to be used to support the roll-out of both programmes and where waiting to deliver one vaccine does not unduly delay administration of the other. It is important people take up the offer of both vaccines when they receive it, so people are encouraged to get both vaccinations as soon as possible rather than waiting for the possibility of getting them together.
NHS England will outline further details on deployment shortly. Plans for the roll-out will use the existing networks in place for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including:
- local vaccination services co-ordinated by primary care networks and community pharmacies
- vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a booster dose regardless of where they live
The government also announced on 13 September that people aged 12 to 15 in England would be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from next week, following advice from the 4 UK chief medical officers.
Further information is available on the government’s website.