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Who will get a booster COVID vaccine first – and when?

Written by on 02/08/2021

The UK government plans to give booster COVID-19 jabs to the most vulnerable groups from September.

The current COVID vaccines have been shown to give good protection against severe disease for at least six months, and there is also evidence of longer-lasting protection.

But because any rise in cases would place pressure on the NHS, a booster protection plan for winter has been deemed necessary.

These are the booster plans:

When will the boosters be given?

The government has said it plans to administer the booster vaccines to the first groups between 6 September and 17 December – a 15-week period.

An extra 60 million Pfizer doses have been ordered, but it is not yet known if it will be the only vaccine available.

More on Covid-19

COVID and flu vaccine

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended flu vaccines be administered at the same time as the booster jabs to maximise uptake of both vaccines and make them easier to deliver.

It said COVID vaccines designed specifically for variants of concern would not be available by the autumn, but would be considered once available.

An RAF serviceman gives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
Image: The most vulnerable people will be given a booster first

Who will get their boosters first?

People who were in the original one to nine priority groups to get their first and second doses will again be first in line.

This time there will be two stages, with those top priority groups split into two, before people under 50 are offered a booster.

Younger groups will be considered later as most will only have received their second dose in the summer.

Stage 1

The following people should be offered a booster vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine as soon as possible from September 2021:

• Adults aged 16 and over who are immunosuppressed

• People living in residential care homes for older adults

• All adults aged 70 and over

• Adults aged 16 and over who are clinically extremely vulnerable

• Frontline health and social care workers

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Expectant mums urged to get the vaccine

Stage 2

The following should be offered a booster as soon as practicable after Stage 1, with equal emphasis on the deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible:

• All adults aged 50 and over

• All adults 16 – 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID at-risk group as outlined in the Green Book

• Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people

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Where will the boosters be given?

Most people will not be given the booster and flu jabs at their GP surgery, but at pharmacies and vaccine centres.

This is to relieve pressure on GPs, especially during the winter months.

NHS leaders said an additional 1,000 community pharmacy sites would be set up to administer the vaccines.

Mix and match

Whether people will receive a different vaccine from their first and second is still being decided as ministers wait for further results from the COV-Boost trial.

Results from another clinical trial last month showed mixing and matching doses one and two could improve the immune response, particularly for those who got the AstraZeneca jab first time.

In a letter to senior health leaders, the NHS said results from a number of clinical trials are expected over the summer so plans will need to “flex as new information becomes available”.

 Sky News

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