The Government Vaccination Committee recommends autumn Covid vaccinations

The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has announced that autumn Covid vaccinations should be rolled out to vulnerable groups and health and social care workers.

In a statement on Thursday, the JCVI said in preliminary advice to the government that despite “significant uncertainty” about the likelihood and severity of future Covid waves, winter will continue to be a time of year when the Covid threat is greatest.

The aim of a Covid booster program in autumn 2022 is to increase the “immunity and protection of the population” against severe Covid diseases, hospitalizations and deaths in winter.

The committee said the vaccines should be given to residents of care homes for older adults, frontline health and social workers, everyone aged 65 and over and adults aged 16 to 64 within the clinically vulnerable groups.

The Department of Health and Social Care said in response it welcomed the JCVI’s preliminary advice and would consider the group’s final recommendations later this year.

It added: “We have asked the NHS in England to start preparations to ensure they are ready to provide Covid vaccines to those who are eligible.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of Covid-19 Vaccination at JCVI, said: “Last year’s fall booster program provided excellent protection against severe COVID-19, including against the Omicron variant.

“We have provided preliminary advice for an Autumn Booster Scheme for 2022 to allow the NHS and care homes to start the necessary operational planning to enable a high level of protection for more vulnerable people and frontline health workers next winter.

“As we continue to review the scientific data, further updates to this recommendation will follow.”

In an update on Covid-19 cases, the UK Health Security Agency said there had been 127 suspected outbreaks across the UK in the last week, compared to 198 the week before.

dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programs at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “While Covid hospitalizations continue to decline, it is important that we do not become complacent. If you have not yet accepted the vaccination offer or missed your last vaccination, please contact us now; Vaccinations still offer the best protection against serious illnesses.

“If you are in a crowded confined space, it makes sense to wear a face covering and remember to wash your hands regularly. If you have symptoms of respiratory infection, high temperature, or are unwell, try to stay home or keep away from others — especially the elderly or vulnerable.” The Government Vaccination Committee recommends autumn Covid vaccinations

Bobby Allyn

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