The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (“JCVI”) has advised at-risk groups that they should receive a booster Covid vaccine dose in autumn 2022. In addition, JVCI has said the jabs should be offered to over-65s, health and care staff, and clinically vulnerable adults aged 16-64. The purpose of this booster is to crucially top up protection levels ahead of the winter. The benefit of this, is that it will give the NHS and care homes time to plan for the winter season, where infection rates will inevitably rise.
How effective is the booster?
Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham has said,
“We know that immunity to Covid-19 following vaccination or indeed infection contracts over time, it would give people most at risk from severe disease a boost just before virus circulation is likely to pick up during autumn and winter months.”
However, the timing is crucial in order to make sure people have received their booster before the virus infection rates increase. The JCVI has offered its recommendations to the whole of the UK, but it is up to the leaders in each of the four nations to decide whether to act on it. Furthermore, Covid vaccination committee chairman Prof Wei Shen Lim has highlighted the previous year’s success saying,
“Last year’s autumn booster vaccination programme provided excellent protection against severe Covid-19, including against the Omicron variant.”
Additionally, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that England will ‘begin preparations’ to ensure vaccines are ready for those eligible, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland yet to confirm whether they will also follow the JCVI recommendation as well.