All over 40s should be offered a third dose of a Covid vaccine, according to the UK government’s vaccine advisors.
The move would top up protection and help limit the spread of the virus over winter.
The booster policy change follows the publication of new data from the UK Health Security Agency, which show that the risk of symptomatic Covid for booster jab recipients was cut by more than four-fifths, compared with those who had only received two doses.
Evidence suggests the chance of testing positive for Covid falls by more than 80 per cent two weeks after a booster.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also said 16 and 17 year olds, who were initially offered only a single dose, should now get a second.
So far, 12.6 million people have had a booster dose. They have been given to the over 50s, front-line medical staff and people with health conditions that put them at greater risk.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he saw no need at the moment to move to a “Plan B” of mask mandates, vaccine passes and work from home orders, even though he was cautious of rising coronavirus cases in parts of Europe.
“We don’t see anything in the data at the moment to suggest that we need to go to Plan B,” Johnson said in a broadcast clip on Monday. “We’re sticking with Plan A. But what we certainly have got to recognise is there is a storm of infection out there in parts of Europe.”
“There is always a risk that a blizzard could come from the east again as the months get colder. The best protection for our country is for everybody to come forward and get their booster.”