Over-40s Can Receive A Third Dose Of The Covid Vaccine From Monday
Sajid Javid has confirmed that all adults aged 40 and over will be eligible to receive a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from Monday next week.
The announcement comes as government has sought to step up efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 this winter.
People aged over 40 will receive either half a dose of Moderna or a full dose of Pfizer for their top-up jab.
Individuals are being encouraged to take the third vaccine six months after they received their second dose, and can book their jab online a month before they become eligible.
Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, the Health Secretary said: "As the data clearly demonstrates, vaccines work.
"We do all know that there will be more variants in the future, and we don't want to go backwards after all this progress that we've made. We must stay focused on the threat that is in front of us and seize every opportunity to bolster our vital defences as the winter moves in.
"This includes our vaccination programme, our primary form of defence."
Javid also confirmed that "in due course" the Joint Committee On Vaccines and Immunisation will consider whether third vaccine doses are needed for all 18 - 39-year-olds, along with whether further boosters are required for the medically vulnerable in the long term.
At a separate press conference this morning, the UK's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, said that government data has shown booster jabs achieve in excess of 90% protection against symptomatic infection.
Van Tam also confirmed that protection against hospitalisation is "even higher" for those who take up a third Covid vaccine dose.
The NHS is currently administering booster shots at a rate of 300,000 – 400,000 people per day.
On the issue of Covid-related difficulties during the coming winter months, Van Tam said that modelling is "getting more difficult to give us any clear sense of whether things will turn up or down".
"We're in for potentially some difficult months over the winter," the deputy chief medical officer said.
"It's still a time of great delicacy and quite a bit of near-term danger," he added.
"This virus is unpredictable."
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has welcomed the move to expand booster jabs.
"We welcome today's announcement by the JCVI, on the extension of the booster campaign to 40-49 year olds,” she said.
“This further strengthens our ability to ensure people are protected against Covid-19 and saves lives.
"Our proactive monitoring of the safety of booster doses does not raise any new concerns."
Alongside approving booster jabs for over 40s, the government has also confirmed that from next Monday 16 and 17-year-olds will be invited to receive a second dose of the Covid vaccine, after the age group was initially recommended just one.
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