Around half a million people in the UK whose immune systems are severely weakened will be offered a third primary vaccine dose, following a new recommendation announced by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) today.
Anyone over the age of 12 who was immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose of the Covid vaccine, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV, or recent organ transplants, will be offered the extra dose.
The JCVI, which advises the government on its Covid vaccine strategy, set out the new recommendation separately from potential booster shot programmes, which health secretary Sajid Javid said the government is planning to begin separately in September.
Booster shots would be designed to build upon the protection successfully given by the first two doses in people with healthy immune systems.
Under the plan announced today, the extra third dose is targeted at those whose compromised immune system means that two doses don’t offer the same protection that they do in others.
“We know people with specific conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 may have received less protection against the virus from two vaccine doses,” Javid said.
“I am determined to ensure we are doing all we can to protect people in this group and a third dose will help deliver that.”
According to the latest government data, Covid vaccines have saved an estimated more than 105,000 lives and prevented 24m infections in England alone.