Britain’s booster programme for Covid-19 vaccinations is set to be expanded following advice from scientists.
The government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said today (November 15) that all healthy adults aged 40-49 should be offered a booster, six months after their second dose.
Previously, the booster programme was limited to those aged 50 and over, and the clinically vulnerable.
So far, some 12.6 million people have had a booster dose.
The latest advice comes after the UK Health Security Agency released data from a real-world study which found the booster gave over 90 per cent protection against symptomatic Covid-19 for people aged 50 years and older.
The JCVI also said that 16 and 17 year olds, who were initially offered only a single dose, should now get a second.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair, Covid-19 immunisation, JCVI said: “Booster vaccine doses in more vulnerable adults, and second vaccine doses in 16 – 17 year olds are important ways to increase our protection against Covid-19 infection and severe disease. These vaccinations will also help extend our protection into 2022.”
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has maintained that booster doses are safe and side-effects, if any, are either a sore arm or flu-like symptoms.
MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine welcomed JCVI’s announcement on the extension of the booster campaign to 40-49 year olds.
“This further strengthens our ability to ensure people are protected against Covid-19 and saves lives. Our proactive monitoring of the safety of booster doses does not raise any new concerns,” she said.