Covid booster jabs extended to over-30s from Monday


Covid booster jabs extended to over-30s from Monday

By Sophie Gallagher
BBC News

Published
Image source, Getty Images

People aged 30 and over in England will be able to book a Covid-19 booster jab from Monday.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said data shows they are the “essential defence against Omicron”.

Booster vaccinations are now being given three months on from a second dose – rather than after six months.

Omicron – a coronavirus variant – could cause between 25,000 to 75,000 deaths by the end of April, according to new research.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) say the UK will face a substantial wave of Omicron infections without further restrictions beyond Plan B.

These numbers are only a projection, rather than a prediction, and scientists say there is still uncertainty around the modelling.

The UK announced a further 54,073 new cases on Saturday, including 633 of Omicron – although the real number of Omicron cases is estimated to be much higher.

Dr Nick Davies from LSHTM said Omicron was likely to be the dominant form of the virus in England by the end of the year.

This week so-called Plan B measures have been introduced in England including mandatory face coverings in most indoor public venues and on public transport.

People have been asked to work from home where possible from Monday and care home residents will be allowed only three visitors and an essential care giver.

NHS Covid Passes – which show you are fully vaccinated, have had a recent negative lateral flow or PCR test, or have an exemption – will be needed to enter some large-capacity venues in England from 15 December.

The BBC understands that Labour will also now back government plans to make it compulsory for all frontline NHS staff in England to be vaccinated against Covid.

In Scotland, household contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid are now being asked to isolate for 10 days – regardless of their vaccination status or if they have had a negative PCR result.

The Scottish government has also said adult care home staff and those working in social care who get vaccinated during work time will not lose out financially or have to take annual leave to do so.

The Welsh government is urging members of the public to take a lateral flow test before going shopping or to Christmas parties. It has also said rules will be reviewed weekly rather than every three weeks.

Officials in Northern Ireland are not planning to extend restrictions over the festive period but further curbs may be reintroduced in the new year.

Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS Covid vaccine programme, said “there has never been a more important time to get boosted”.

More than 22 million people in the UK have now had a third vaccination or booster. Mr Javid said this was “securing vital protection ahead of Christmas”.

Some people under 40 reported being able to book their booster jab appointment online on Saturday.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that the window between second jabs and boosters be reduced from six months in November when it also said all over-18s would be offered the booster.

Dr Lawson said the NHS was continuing to look for volunteers to help with the vaccine delivery.

“Please do look at the opportunities available. You would be helping us to save lives,” she said.

More on this story



Source link