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Elderly and vulnerable to be offered spring Covid booster jab


eople over 75 and over and those in care homes will be offered a spring Covid-19 vaccine, the Government has announced, but figures show that more than a third of Londoners have still not received two jabs.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it has advised that certain groups of people should be offered the vaccinations, with options including the Pfizer, Moderna, Sanofi/GSK jabs.

Anyone aged five and over who is immunosuppressed will also be offered a jab.

London’s overall vaccination coverage continues to lag behind the rest of the country, with over a third (35.2 per cent) of those eligible receiving two doses.

Under half (46.9 per cent) of eligible Londoners had received a third dose as of March 1.

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In the South West of England, 82.4 per cent of those eligible have received two doses and 69.3 per cent have had a booster jab.

People will be offered the vaccine around six months after their previous dose, with NHS England setting out the specific details of the programme at a later date.

The Novavax jab will also be available for use only when alternatives are not considered clinically suitable.

Children under 12 will be offered a children’s formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Which vaccine people get will depend on local supply.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the JCVI’s Covid-19 committee, said: “Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 and the spring booster programme provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up.

“This year’s spring programme will bridge the gap to the planned booster programme in the autumn, enabling those who are most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer.”

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Covid-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.

“It is important those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts.”

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