Decision on who gets Covid booster jabs due imminently as experts meet today08/19/2021
A DECISION could be made today on who gets Covid booster jabs by Government advisers.
Experts will discuss the age groups in need of a third shot this morning, with cases still high and winter on the horizon.
Members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are set to decide "imminently".
Professor Adam Finn said: "I think there's enough evidence that there will be some people who will need a third dose, particularly people who we know are very unlikely to be well protected by those first two doses.
"But I think we do need more evidence before we can make a firm decision on a much broader booster programme."
"I think at this point we need to focus on individuals who are more likely, if you like, to get sick again if they've not got a booster.
"And in fact we'll be having a JCVI meeting this morning to discuss exactly that.
"So, trying to identify the people who are really at risk and really need that third dose.
"I think it's less clear really whether a third dose in a more general way, for sort of all people above a certain age, is really going to make very much difference.
"But at this point I think the main message is that the direct protective effects of these vaccines is excellent i.e. if you get the vaccination you're in a much better place in terms of getting sick.
"But the ability of the programme to actually stop the virus from circulating around in the population is less good than we'd hoped."
Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed last week he expected the rollout to begin in September – to protect the vulnerable ahead of winter.
He said: "When it comes to booster jabs we are waiting for the final advice from JCVI, that's our group of independent clinical advisers, and when we get that advice we will be able to start the booster programme, but I anticipate it will begin in early September, so I'm already making plans for that.
"It's really important that when we start that programme, the sort of first cohorts, the ones that got the jabs early on when we started our programme – the first in the world back in December last year – that those cohorts come first and so we will be prioritising it.
"Also in terms of vaccination, it's important to say that they're working.
"This wall of defence that the vaccines have created are working. It's massively reduced hospitalisations, deaths from Covid are mercifully low and that's because of our vaccination programme."
He said the plan is for the flu jab to be offered, especially to over 50s, at the same time as their Covid booster jab.
Asked if the vaccination programme might soon include 12 to 15-year-olds in the UK, Professor Adam Finn said: "Hard to predict the answer on that. We're very focused on what's happening elsewhere.
"We are concerned about the safety signal, the myocarditis signal. And we are recognising increasingly that actually children, even adolescents, really very seldom get seriously ill with Covid, so that it makes it a very marginal decision that they will benefit by being immunised.
"So we are obviously looking at that very carefully and continuously, but hard to predict really which way that's going to go."
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