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UK expands covid-19 booster program, Johnson says no need to move to Plan B

The decision comes after a senior UK official said the vaccination programme offered the best opportunity to prevent a re-imposition of restrictions over Christmas (Photo: Reuters)Premium
The decision comes after a senior UK official said the vaccination programme offered the best opportunity to prevent a re-imposition of restrictions over Christmas (Photo: Reuters)

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said people aged 40 to 49 will also be eligible for a vaccine booster shot six months after their initial shot. People 50 and over had previously been eligible

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LONDON : Britain's COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout will be extended to people aged between 40 and 49 to boost waning immunity in the population ahead of the colder winter months. Currently all people aged 50 and above, those who are clinically vulnerable and frontline health workers are eligible for boosters.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are expanding the programme even further and today I have accepted the advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to extend the additional offer of a booster jab to people aged 40 and over and offer a second dose of a vaccine to all young people aged 16 to 17 as part of the primary vaccination schedule. All four parts of the UK intend to follow the JCVI’s advice."

The UK government has asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine as soon as possible.

“We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane after six months and new data published today shows a third dose boosts protection against symptomatic infection to more than 90% – this highlights just how important it is that everyone eligible gets their top-up jabs as soon as possible. The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to all people under the age of 40 and I look forward to receiving their advice in due course," Mr Javid said. 

Britain is mainly using the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots in the booster rollout, with people being eligible six months after their second shot.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he saw no need at the moment to move to a "Plan B" of mask mandates, vaccine passes and work from home orders, even though he was cautious of rising coronavirus cases in parts of Europe.

"We don't see anything in the data at the moment to suggest that we need to go to Plan B," Johnson said in a broadcast clip on Monday. "We're sticking with Plan A. But what we certainly have got to recognise is there is a storm of infection out there in parts of Europe."

"There is always a risk that a blizzard could come from the east again as the months get colder. The best protection for our country is for everybody to come forward and get their booster."

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