The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has recommended offering a spring boost to those most vulnerable to Covid-19 – and Boris Johnson has indicated it will be extended further later this year
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Millions of Brits are now entitled to a fourth dose of the life-saving coronavirus vaccine.
The government has announced that certain segments of the population can register for a second booster starting this week.
The move comes almost exactly two years after the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown and against a worsening picture of a domestic pandemic.
A new, more contagious strain is spreading and the number of cases is increasing.
On Saturday, Boris Johnson teased the latest vaccination drive at the Conservative Party’s spring conference – and hinted it will be extended to more people later this year.
He said: “I hope you all had your boosters. We’re preparing for a fourth push because we’re going to need it.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the fourth jab:
AFP via Getty Images)
When does the rollout start?
From today the NHS has started inviting eligible people to come in for their life-saving spring booster shots.
Those who fit the bill could book from 7am.
Who is Eligible Now?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has recommended offering spring vaccination to those most vulnerable to Covid-19 as a precautionary measure.
Persons aged 75 and over and immunocompromised persons aged 12 and over.
A total of five million people can get a jab during the Spring Booster campaign.
The NHS will be contacting over 600,000 people to invite them to book their vaccine this week.
You become eligible when you’ve reached six months since your last refresher, which is why not everyone is available immediately.
For most of them it will be the fourth dose, but for immunocompromised people it may be the fifth.
Who might be eligible in the future?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) is still debating whether to further extend the fourth dose.
Last week Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave the strongest indication yet that there will definitely be a wider rollout.
However, it is understood that no decisions were made as to who exactly would receive the jab as part of it. That is, whether all adults should be offered a fourth jab – or instead, expanded access but still reserved for certain groups, such as the over-50s.
Asked if the JCVI would say we needed more people to be stung, Mr Javid told ITV’s Peston: “I think eventually they will.
“And they have actually been clear and their latest advice is that they believe that towards the end of this year, maybe in the fall, it will be necessary to give a lot more people a push, an offer of a push.
“But I will wait for that advice.”
Why is the government introducing this now?
Coronavirus cases and hospital admissions are on the rise, and experts fear the death toll could soon rise as well.
Since the beginning of the month, daily infections have more than doubled, from an average of 30,000 cases per day per week to now 70,000.
At the moment, cases among the elderly are at a record high, with one in 29 people over 70 in England being infected.
Although the vaccine has helped keep the impact of these infections lower than in 2020 and early 2021, hospitalization rates are now rising again.
There are currently around 1,900 daily Covid admissions across the UK – a 50% increase from this time a month ago.
The surge is being fueled by more social interactions and BA.2, a new mutation in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is responsible for the majority of new infections in the UK.
Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy SRO for the NHS’s COVID vaccination scheme, said: “Unfortunately, we are still seeing large numbers of people feeling seriously ill with Covid in hospital, so it remains important that those most at risk are themselves Report people when invited to do so.
“The public response so far to the largest and most successful vaccination program in the history of the NHS has been incredible, with more than nine in ten people aged 75 and over receiving their first booster.
“The NHS Covid vaccination program is once again ready to protect people. So if you are invited, please sign up for your springtime dose.”
AFP via Getty Images)
How do I get the second booster?
NHS health chiefs expect high uptake of spring boosters among people aged 75 and over after 4.5million of them got their booster shots over the autumn and winter and have hired additional call attendants on the 119 service to help people book their to help with vaccination appointments.
Calls to make an appointment can be made to 119, which is free from mobile and landline numbers.
Telephone lines are open daily from 8am to 8pm and the 119 offers assistance in 200 languages.
Local NHS teams will, as before, be in touch with care homes in their patch to arrange spring boosters for eligible and invitees.
Hundreds of locations, including community pharmacies, vaccination centers and hospital centers, are offering spring boosters to those most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Booking also possible via NHS website.
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Is it important that I get the refresher if I’m eligible?
According to the government, for severely immunocompromised individuals who have been recommended a 3rd base dose, e.g. For example, if you are on cancer treatment, it is still important to get it before a booster to maximize protection against Covid-19.
While three vaccinations significantly reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off over time.
A booster shot helps keep immunity as high as possible.
Health and Welfare Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Spring boosters will help boost the immunity of the elderly and most vulnerable to ensure they are protected and help us continue to live with this virus.
“Thank you to the NHS for once again taking up the challenge of empowering people. Please get in touch as soon as you are contacted.”
Vaccine Secretary Maggie Throup added: “We are absolutely committed to protecting those most vulnerable to Covid.
“Please accept the offer of a Spring Booster as soon as you are contacted by the NHS – it will protect you and ensure we can continue to enjoy our freedoms.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/eligible-brits-can-start-booking-26514017 Eligible Britons can start booking their fourth Covid-19 vaccination from today - everything you need to know