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Millions to get another Covid booster this winter as end of offer for under 50s nears

Health officials have confirmed that there will be a Covid booster vaccination for people at risk in the fall of 2023, and another vaccine will be offered to a small group of vulnerable people in the spring. However, healthy people under the age of 50 will no longer be offered revaccinations after February 12. The decision to end the vaccine offer in 2023 follows a decline in the use of booster shots among the young and healthy.

Healthy people aged 16 to 49 can currently receive two primary Covid vaccines and a booster dose.

Next month, the UKHSA will end this offer, which began in December 2021, as the government transitions from an emergency response to the pandemic to post-pandemic recovery.

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunization (JCVI) advised the government to begin planning for a spring and fall Covid booster campaign for the most vulnerable populations.

Rollout details have yet to be confirmed, but the next campaign is expected to be similar to the 2022 campaign.

READ MORE: No plans to expand UK Covid amplification scheme despite tridemic fears

Last year, doses were offered to people over 75, immunocompromised individuals, and residents of nursing homes.

Those over 50 and those considered clinically vulnerable were able to receive a dose in the fall of 2022.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of Covid at JCVI, said: “The vaccination program continues to reduce severe disease in the population, helping to protect the National Health Service.

“That is why we have advised scheduling additional booster vaccines for those at increased risk of serious illness as part of the fall booster program later this year.

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“Very soon, we will also provide final recommendations for the spring support program for those most at risk.”

The decision to phase out the vaccine offer during 2023 follows the release of data showing vaccine use among those under 50 is declining.

Since April 2022, government data shows less than 0.1 percent of those under 50 eligible for a third dose of the vaccine.

To date, nearly 13.7 million people aged 16 to 49 have received three doses of the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Hospitalizations due to influenza for the first time exceeded hospitalizations due to Covid-19

Moreover, almost 19.8 and 21.3 million people received the second and first doses of the vaccine, respectively.

Government data also shows that 29.6 million people aged 16 to 49 and only 46 percent of those under 50 receive three doses.

A statement on the government’s website said: “We strongly encourage anyone who is currently eligible for a first booster and has not yet claimed it to do so before the offer closes.

“As the transition from pandemic emergency response to pandemic recovery continues, the JCVI recommended closing the 2021 booster offer for non-clinically at risk individuals aged 16 to 49, in line with the fall 2022 close. booster vaccination campaign.

According to the JCVI, the risk of severe Covid-19 continues to be disproportionately higher in older people, residents of nursing homes and those with underlying medical conditions.

The committee added that there is still uncertainty about the evolution of the virus, as well as the persistence and breadth of immunity, which limits “the development of a routine immunization program against Covid.”

Emergency vaccination campaigns may still be warranted if a new emergency variant arises with significant biological differences from Omicron, JCVI said.

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