Covid booster programme to exclude most Brits from autumn vaccines

Most younger people will be excluded from the programme, unless they work in frontline health or social care

Published

The autumn Covid-19 booster programme is set to exclude most Brits from getting another jab.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that those in older age groups, residents in care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, and those with certain underlying health conditions receive a booster vaccine ahead of the winter period.

This will help protect against hospital admission and death during a period when individuals and the health service are at their most vulnerable, the JCVI said.

The Government has been advised to provide an autumn Covid-19 booster programme
The Government has been advised to provide an autumn Covid-19 booster programme
A nurse prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine
A nurse prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine

But some have questioned why younger people are not being offered the jab.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said the advice was "better than nothing".

He added: “Why aren’t we thinking about more comprehensive programmes if we’re serious about trying to move on?

"Triple-vaccinated healthy people are barely keeping going between reinfections from Omicron, with its oncoming sub-variants [that are] somewhat more transmissible and immune evasive, this doesn’t look sustainable.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said that last year’s autumn booster programme provided “excellent protection” against Covid-19.

Professor Lim said: “Last year’s autumn booster vaccination programme provided excellent protection against severe Covid-19, including against the Omicron variant.

“We have provided interim advice on an autumn booster programme for 2022 so that the NHS and care homes are able to start the necessary operational planning, to enable high levels of protection for more vulnerable individuals and frontline healthcare staff over next winter.

“As we continue to review the scientific data, further updates to this advice will follow.”

The Department of Health welcomed the JVCI's recommendations, adding that they have asked NHS England to begin preparations for next winter.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We welcome the interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for an autumn Covid booster programme and will consider their final recommendations later this year.

“We have asked the NHS in England to begin preparations to ensure they are ready to deploy Covid vaccines to those eligible.”