Sajid Javid unveils roll out of 4th Covid jab for over-75s and vulnerable adults across UK
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The Health Secretary said the elderly, care home residents and immunosuppressed people would be offered an extra top-up dose of the vaccine from the spring. The announcement comes on the same day the Prime Minister is set to announce an end to all legal coronavirus restrictions.
Boris Johnson has cited success in the rollout of Covid vaccines and boosters as a key factor in re-opening England’s economy.
It is hoped the rollout of extra jabs for those most at risk from the virus will allow the country to return to life as normal before the pandemic.
Mr Javid said: “Thanks to our COVID-19 vaccination rollout, we are already the freest country in Europe. It has saved countless lives, reduced pressure on the NHS and is allowing us to learn to live with the virus.
“Today I have accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer, from spring, an additional COVID-19 booster jab to people aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults, and people aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed. All four parts of the UK intend to follow the JCVI’s advice.
“Following the JCVI’s advice, I have asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine from around six months after their last dose and they will set out further details in due course.”
Scientific studies show the immunity provided by Covid jabs slowly decreases over time, meaning a further injection is required in order to keep up high levels of resistance to serious illness.
The JCVI also said it anticipated a further booster programme in the autumn of 2022 would also be needed, though it was too early to set out details of such a programme.
Me Javid added: “We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane over time. That’s why we’re offering a spring booster to those people at higher risk of serious COVID-19 to make sure they maintain a high level of protection.
“It’s important that everyone gets their top-up jabs as soon as they’re eligible.
“The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to further at-risk groups.
“This is a national mission – the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones and I urge everybody to get your jabs as soon as you can.”
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), most of the UK’s oldest adults received their last vaccine in September or October last year.
It means they will be eligible for a fourth dose from next month.
In total, more than 81 percent of all UK adults have had three coronavirus injections.
The rollout of the booster dose means that cases, hospitalisations and deaths in England a rapidly falling.
There were 23,831 new Covid cases registered yesterday, with 9,058 patients in hospital.
On Sunday 69 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded in England, although figures are usually lower at weekends.
Mr Johnson will outline his Covid plan later today.
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