Uncertainty around the Omicron variant has sparked action with the recall program, reports Emily Morgan, editor-in-chief of ITV News Health.
Jabs d’appoint should be offered to those over 18 in the UK and those over 12 will soon be told they can receive their second dose of the vaccine, as the government seeks to protect Britons from a disturbing new variant of coronavirus known as Omicron.
Adults between the ages of 18 and 39 will be offered their booster injection three months after their second dose, which halves the previously recommended six-month timeframe.
And people aged 12 to 15 will get their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine no earlier than three months after the first dose – this age group was previously only allowed one jab.
Another change in the immunization schedule will see anyone with severely weakened immune systems being offered their booster dose. The fourth doses should be given no earlier than three months after the end of their primary three-dose cycle.
England and Scotland have already announced that they will expand their vaccination programs, while Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to follow.
Changes to the vaccination program:
Adults aged 18 to 39 will be eligible for a booster
Young people between the ages of 12 and 15 will be entitled to a second dose
Severely immunocompromised people may receive their fourth dose
When will we have answers on the Omicron variant? ITV News Editor-in-Chief Emily Morgan explains
The booster shots will be vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, while the second doses for high school students will be Pfizer.
The changes were made in response to advice given to the government by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.
Ministers hope to boost immunity for the coming winter months after several cases of the new variant have been found in the UK.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chairman of Covid Vaccination at JCVI, said, “Having a booster dose of the vaccine will help increase our level of protection against the Omicron variant.
“This is an important way for us to reduce the impact of this variant on our lives, especially in the months to come. “
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that by expanding the recall program to over 18s, the number of eligible people doubled.
New restrictions coming into effect in England have raised concerns in the travel and hospitality industries, reports Joel Hills, editor of ITV News Business.
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which provides advice on vaccine safety, said the public can be “confident” that a booster vaccine is safe.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said the expansion of the booster jab program “further strengthens our ability to ensure that people are protected from Covid-19”.
“Our proactive monitoring of the safety of booster doses does not raise any new concerns,” she said, adding, “When you are called for your booster dose, you can come forward with confidence that the benefits of the booster dose. prevention of serious Covid-19 far outweigh any risks. “
Our coronavirus podcast: Will the increase in cases in Europe affect the UK? Listen now
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Van-Tam insisted it was “not just sadness,” telling a press conference in Downing Street: “I don’t want to not that people panic at this point.
“If the efficacy of the vaccine is reduced – as seems quite likely, to some extent – the greatest effects will probably be in preventing infections and hopefully there will be weaker effects in preventing infections. serious diseases. “
Mr Javid said he “will not keep the measures in place a day longer than necessary” if the Omicron variant is found to be less dangerous than originally thought.
The UK has only confirmed 11 cases of the variant so far, but that number is expected to increase.
But Health Minister Ed Argar said there are currently no plans to tighten restrictions further, after rules were passed to enforce masks in stores and increase testing for international arrivals.
He told ITV News that there was “no plan to move to Plan B at the moment”, adding that ministers “felt we had struck the right balance with this”.
Plan B could mean an expansion of the parameters within which face masks are required, introducing mandatory certification of Covid status only for vaccines to enter premises and require people to work from home.
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From Tuesday, the port of face masks should be mandatory in shops and on public transport, while PCR tests will be brought back for travelers back to UK.
MEPs will debate and vote on the new Covid restrictions in England on Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, health ministers from the G7 group of nations held an urgent meeting to discuss the impact of Omicron.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said that Health Secretary Javid had “stressed the importance of surveillance for Covid-19 and the capacities of countries to quickly share the results with the international community as well. as the role of booster vaccination programs in strengthening our defenses ”.