Everybody over the age of 18 in the United Kingdom will be asked to come forward for a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Fears of the new Omicron variant being highly transmissible have sped up the waiting times in between second jabs and boosters cut from six to three months.
Guidelines will also change, stating that those aged 18-39 will be offered the booster shot. Anyone aged 40 or more is already eligible to receive their booster. It comes after new recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) who advise the government on vaccine protocol. This afternoon (November 29), Health Secretary Sajid confirmed the recommendations had been accepted in full.
Despite these changes in criteria, younger people may have to wait a little longer to receive their booster dose. Loading up the booking service on the NHS site prompts an online queue, but once you make it to the front you won’t necessarily be able to book your jab. The advice reiterates that people will be vaccinated in order of risk, with older people first, so certain areas may have availability more quickly than others.
So far, 11 cases of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, have been found in the UK.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, told people to “not panic” during a press conference.
He noted that despite some evidence that the new variant could evade vaccines, the jabs continue to have an effect in the fight against serious illness from Covid-19, and everyone should come forward for their 1st, 2nd or booster dose.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI said: “Having a booster dose of the vaccine will help to increase our level of protection against the Omicron variant.
“This is an important way for us to reduce the impact of this variant on our lives, especially in the coming months. If you are eligible for a booster, please take up the offer and keep yourself protected as we head into winter.”
The adult population will be offered a booster with the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines being used. Find out here if you are eligible for your booster dose.