People aged 75 and over and those in care homes are among those to be offered a spring Covid-19 booster jab.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that certain groups of people should be offered the vaccinations, with options including the Pfizer, Moderna, Sanofi/GSK jabs.
In January 2023, the committee advised preparations should begin for potential booster programmes in spring and autumn this year, with further details to be announced at a later date.
The committee has since advised that a spring booster dose should be offered to:
- adults aged 75 years and over
- residents in a care home for older adults
- individuals aged 5 years and over who are immunosuppressed
Eligible individuals will be offered the vaccine around 6 months after their previous dose and NHS England will confirm operational details for the programme in due course.
The JCVI has advised the following vaccines may be used in the 2023 spring programme:
- Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent
- Moderna bivalent
- Sanofi/GSK monovalent (beta variant)
- Novavax monovalent (wild-type variant) – only for use when alternative products are not considered clinically suitable
The vaccine offered will depend on a person’s age and local supply considerations. Children aged under 12 years will be offered a children’s formulation of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of the JCVI’s COVID-19 Committee, said:
Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and the spring booster programme provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up.
This year’s spring programme will bridge the gap to the planned booster programme in the autumn, enabling those who are most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:
COVID-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.
It is important those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts.