Britain Health Agency Recommends Additional COVID-19 Boosters for Vulnerable

A British government health agency is recommending an additional spring COVID-19 vaccine booster for the elderly and vulnerable population.

Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) is recommending an additional spring booster for adults aged 75 and older, and immunosuppressed individuals aged 12 and over, who received their last vaccination dose in September or October, the agency announced Monday.

“Immunity derived from vaccination declines over time and many of the oldest adults received their most recent vaccine dose in September or October 2021,” the agency’s press release said. “These individuals are at much higher risk of severe coronavirus (COVID-19). Therefore, as a precautionary strategy to maintain high levels of immunity, an extra spring dose is advised around 6 months after the last vaccine dose.”

The spring dose for eligible adults over age 18 include 50 mcg of the Moderna vaccine, or 30 mcg of the Pfizer vaccine.

The agency said that an autumn booster may also be needed for those with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

“To maintain high levels of protection for the most vulnerable individuals in the population, an extra spring dose of vaccine is advised ahead of an expected autumn booster program later this year,” JCVI COVID-19 Chair Wei Shen Lim said in the release. “The JCVI will continue its rolling review of the vaccination program and the epidemiological situation, particularly in relation to the timing and value of doses for less vulnerable older adults and those in clinical risk groups ahead of autumn 2022.”

The agency announcement comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an end to the pandemic restrictions in that country on Thursday.

“Thanks to our hugely successful vaccination program, the immunity built up in the population and our new antiviral and therapeutics tools, the U.K. is in the strongest possible position to learn how to live with COVID and end government regulation,” Johnson said Monday. “To save lives and protect the NHS, unprecedented measures were taken on a global scale that interfered with people’s lives and livelihoods. Billions of pounds were spent on supporting a locked down economy as the public stayed at home.”

The additional JCVI booster shots are part of the plan to manage the virus going forward.

“The Plan, published today, sets out how vaccines and other pharmaceutical interventions will continue to form our first line of defense. Today the Government has accepted the JCVI recommendation to offer an additional booster to all adults aged over 75, all residents in care homes for older adults, and all over 12 who are immunosuppressed,” a press release from Johnson’s office said. “An autumn annual booster program is under consideration, subject to further advice.

“Further detail on deployment on the spring booster program will be set out in due course. The Government will continue to be guided by the JCVI on future vaccine programs.”

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