Booster jabs will now be offered to all over 18s the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations said.
The vaccine advisory body also said gaps between the primary course of the Covid-19 vaccine and booster shots should be reduced from six months to three in order to speed up the roll out. It comes as governments worldwide reel in response to news that a new highly transmissible, and possibly vaccine resistant, strain of the virus has been detected in Southern Africa and Europe.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today professor Wei Shen Lim, committee chair said “regardless of what dose was given first the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna should be used for a booster.” The Astra Zeneca vaccine by contrast does not produce as strong a response when used as a third or fourth jab, he added.
Those who are immunocompromised are set to receive a further booster meaning they will have their fourth vaccination. The first three vaccines they have received to date count as their primary course whilst the fourth vaccination counts as their booster.
“I strongly urge everyone who is already eligible to please make the effort, book the appointment and get the booster,” said Wei Shen Lim, pointing out that not everyone who is eligible for additional vaccines has yet come forward to have one.
Children aged 12 to 15 year should now be eligible to have their second dose, the JCVI has said.
According to government data 30.6 per cent of the population over the age of 12 has come forward to have their booster jab.