UK to offer fourth doses of Covid-19 booster vaccine to all 50+


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LONDON: Friday’s announcement by the UK government that it would be distributing a fourth Covid-19 vaccine as a booster shot for all 50-year-olds was a sign of strength. The goal is to improve protection against coronavirus, and prevent hospitalisations during winter months.
Scientists on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent body (JCVIThe ) recommended that an additional dose of vitamin E be administered in the autumn months.
The Department of HealthSocial Care (DHSC), said that it had accepted the advice and will roll out the free doses to seniors and healthcare staff as well as National Health Service (NHS) members.NHS) workers in the coming months.
“I have accepted the independent advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to offer an autumn Covid-19 booster to people aged 50 and over, residents and staff in care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, unpaid carers, individuals aged five to 49 in clinical risk groups and household contacts of those who are immunosuppressed,” said Health Secretary Steve Barclay.
“Viruses spread more easily in the colder seasons with people socialising inside, so the risk of getting Covid-19 is higher. It is absolutely vital the most vulnerable groups receive a booster vaccine to strengthen their immunity against serious disease over winter to protect themselves and reduce pressure on the NHS,” he said.
The annual flu vaccine is being offered at no cost to seniors and other vulnerable groups.
“The flu virus could also be highly infectious at this time of year, so today I am also announcing that those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year will include everyone aged 50 and over, primary school children and secondary school pupils in years 7, 8 and 9, as well as people in clinical risk groups, unpaid carers and household contacts of those who are immunosuppressed,” said Barclay.
The JCVI recommended previously that a fourth Covid dose should be administered to those over 65.
However, an independent advisory body has revised its guidance following consideration of the BA.4 Omicron waves.
“The committee evaluated the recent epidemiology and benefits of aligning Covid-19 programme and the flu vaccine rollout and concluded that expanding the offer would provide necessary protection for those at higher risk of severe illnesses and keep more people out hospital,” JCVI said.
It’s the latest Office for National StatisticsData showed that the number of Covid-19-related infections has increased by 29% in the last week.
Although the figure of nearly 3.5million positive tests in the week to July 6 is the highest since mid-April it still falls below the UK record of 4.9million at the end March.


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