The NHS is set to start offering booster coronavirus jabs from next week, with people aged 50 and over, those in care homes and frontline health and social care workers to be eligible.
A booster vaccination programme has now been planned for some time, though the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) announced the details of who should be eligible on Tuesday.
Announcing the details, the JCVI said that a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine should only be given after six months have elapsed since a person received their second COVID vaccination.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday that the Government had accepted the advice from the JCVI, meaning around 30 million people will be offered a third vaccine dose as part of the government’s plan for tackling COVID-19 this autumn and winter.
It is thought that some protection from the vaccine may drop off several months after the second dose, though the exact details of this are unclear. It is also currently unknown whether any further doses may be necessary after a third vaccine dose in order to maintain protection against the virus.
As part of the booster jab scheme, most eligible people are expected to be offered the Pfizer jab.
The Government has said it sees vaccines as continuing to have an important role in managing COVID-19, especially with cases of the virus expected to rise over the Autumn and Winter.
It has previously been argued by some that more vaccines should be shared with less developed countries before third doses are given out, though the UK’s booster plan now looks to begin next week.
On Monday, a further 30,825 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK, while a further 61 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test were also reported. To date, over 134,261 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test have been reported in the UK.