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As the government today (November 15) announced plans to expand Britain’s booster programme for Covid-19 vaccinations to cover all adults aged over 40, NHS Confederation welcomed the move.

The announcement follows the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) statement that all healthy adults aged 40-49 should be offered a booster, six months after their second dose, and that 16 and 17 year olds should be invited to have a second dose.

Accepting the JCVI’s advice, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “All 4 parts of the UK intend to follow the JCVI’s advice.

“We know immunity to Covid-19 begins to wane after 6 months and new data published today shows a third dose boosts protection against symptomatic infection to more than 90% – this highlights just how important it is that everyone eligible gets their top-up jabs as soon as possible.”

Javid said that JCVI will continue its review and further advise on whether the booster dose should be offered to all people under the age of 40.

Ruth Rankine, director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said: “We know we are heading into a perilous winter with the NHS running very hot so this is welcome news as boosters and second doses will help shore up protection in the weeks and months ahead.

She pledged support for the drive on behalf of healthcare leaders, but highlighted the pressure on health service due to challenging vaccination programme and increased demand for services.

She added: “We need to see a more sustainable approach to the vaccination programme in general and most importantly, we need assurances that the supply of vaccines are available when they are needed so that appointments can be planned and workforce made available.

“It is also really important that people do come forward to receive their booster jabs as soon as they are eligible.”

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