All over-50s ‘to get booster jab in autumn’ to stop third wave
All UK adults over the age of 50 are set to be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine this autumn, it has been claimed.
Experts hope that a third jab will eradicate the threat of the virus entirely by Christmas and it is understood that trials, overseen by Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty, are already underway.
The trials are exploring two approaches to assess the most effective way to fully immunise the most vulnerable and avoid a spike in cases during winter, reported The Times.
Early findings from the trials reportedly suggest that they could offset the threat of any new or existing variants circulating in the country.
The first of the two approaches is said to involve jabs specifically modified to tackle new variants.
The second would see adults vaccinated with a third dose of either the Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna jabs which are effective against the Kent variant but offer less protection against other strains, such as the South Africa one.
A senior government minister told the paper: ‘We will have a lot to say about the booster programme soon. It’s looking really positive so far.
‘We think that the level of protection in the population to any variant will be so high that by Christmas, Covid-19 should have just faded away into the background like any other illness in circulation.
‘So much so that we don’t think there will be any need to give a booster shot to younger people because transmission will have got so low.’
It is understood the booster vaccine could be offered to adults alongside flu inoculations, which would see patients jabbed in both arms.
The source added that ministers hope the public’s immunity will be so high that younger adults will not need a booster jab to keep infections low – much like flu jabs.
It comes as the UK hit another vaccine milestone earlier this week, with more than 50 million jabs administered since the start of the rollout.
At least a quarter of the adult population in the country are fully immunised after receiving both doses.
Sharing the news, Boris Johnson said the results of the vaccine rollout are ‘starting to show up’ against infection rates and remained hopeful that all social distancing restrictions could be reduced in line with the Government’s plans.
The PM added: ‘It also looks to me as though June 21 – we’ll be able to say social distancing as we currently have to do it, the one-metre plus, I think we have got a good chance of being able to dispense with the one-metre plus from June 21.
‘That is still dependent on the data, we can’t say it categorically yet, we have got to look at the epidemiology as we progress, we have got to look at where we get to with the disease.
‘But that’s what it feels like to me right now.’
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