Millions to get Covid booster this winter as offer ends for under-50s
Health chiefs have confirmed that an autumn 2023 Covid booster roll-out will go ahead for at-risk individuals, with a smaller group of vulnerable individuals to be offered another vaccine in spring too. Healthy under-50s, however, will no longer be offered a booster vaccine after February 12. The decision to wind down on the vaccine offer in 2023 follows dwindling uptake of boosters jabs among the young and healthy.
Healthy people aged between 16 and 49 are currently able to get two primary Covid vaccines and a booster dose.
Next month the UKHSA will end this offer, which started in December 2021, as the Government transitions away from a pandemic emergency response towards a pandemic recovery.
On Wednesday, The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) advised the Government to start planning for a spring and autumn Covid booster campaign for the most vulnerable.
Details of the rollout are yet to be confirmed, but the next campaign is understood to be similar to that of 2022.
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Last year, the doses were offered to over-75s, immunosuppressed individuals and care home residents.
Individuals over 50 years of age and those deemed clinically vulnerable, were able to get an autumn 2022 dose.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid jabs at the JCVI, said: “The vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population while helping to protect the NHS.
“That is why we have advised planning for further booster vaccines for persons at higher risk of serious illness through an autumn booster programme later this year.
“We will very shortly also provide final advice on a spring booster programme for those at greatest risk.”
The decision to phase out the vaccine offer over the course of 2023 follows the release of data indicating that vaccine uptake among the under-50s is dwindling.
Government data shows that less than 0.1 percent of eligible under-50s have come forward to get a third dose of the vaccine since April 2022.
So far, almost 13.7 million people aged between 16 and 49 years old have received three doses of the vaccine.
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