UK's vaccine body recommends virus booster shots from September; government set to decide

WION Web Team
LondonUpdated: Jul 01, 2021, 06:59 PM IST
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UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised the government that it should carry out the booster programme in September.

UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in its report suggested that booster shots need to be administered in the country with the winter approaching.

In its report, the JCVI said "social mixing and social contact return towards pre-pandemic norms, it is expected that winter 2021 to 2022 will be the first winter in the UK when SARS-CoV2 will co-circulate alongside other respiratory viruses."


"In the view of the JCVI, the primary objective of a 2021 COVID-19 booster programme is to reduce the occurrence of serious COVID-19 disease," it added while saying that the timing and magnitude of potential influenza and virus waves later in the year is still unknown.

The JVI advised the government that it should carry out the booster programme in September. The UK has given one shot of the vaccine to at least 85 per cent of the population with over 60 per cent having received both jabs.

The Boris Johnson government hasn't made its decision yet on the booster shots, although reports say it could be undertaken on a precautionary basis.

The JVI report said the booster doses should be taken in two stages. In the first stage, the booster vaccine and the yearly influenza vaccine should be administered as soon as possible from September and in the second stage, all adults over 50 should be given the vaccine including those between 16 to 49 years who are an influenza or coronavirus risk.

"The UK has placed orders for a range of other COVID-19 vaccines, some of which may become available for use in a booster programme," the report added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to lift lockdown restrictions on July 19 after deferring it for four weeks due to a surge in cases with the Delta variant spreading rapidly in the country.

Newly appointed health minister Sajid Javid while preparing the country for the new approach, said: "We need to learn to live with this virus. Our first COVID-19 vaccination programme is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster programme will protect this freedom."

The JCVI in its report asserted that all adults aged 70 years or over should be given the booster shots as part of the first phase including adults aged 16 years and over, and also health workers.

Britain has been under lockdown for several months with millions staying at home although the Johnson government had begun reopening various sectors last month but stopped short of removing all restrictions due to a surge in cases in June.

UK is one of the worst affected countries in the world due to the virus with over 4.8 million coronavirus cases and  128,404 fatalities. 

(With inputs from Agencies)