Young adults and children should get Covid booster jabs this autumn, vaccine chiefs warn


The announcement comes after the UK is seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases and follows a trial of Moderna’s new vaccine designed to tackle the more contagious sub-variants of Omicron

Vaccine chiefs say children should be offered a booster jab this autumn

Younger adults and children should be offered booster jabs in the autumn, vaccine makers have warned.

Britain is seeing a summer spike in cases after only offering Spring booster jabs to over-75s and those vulnerable to infection.

It comes after the Office for National Statistics said Covid-19 infections have arisen to 1.4 million after a 43% rise in a week.

NHS preparations are underway for over-65s, those clinically vulnerable frontline health and social care workers, and older care home residents to be offered an autumn booster.

Moderna, which makes one of the UK’s main two vaccines still in use along with Pfizer, has warned that people could be “under-protected and under-vaccinated” without a wider booster programme.

Britain is seeing a summer spike in coronavirus cases
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Image:

Reuters)

Dr Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said that restricting the booster age to 65 will leave “a lot of vulnerable people unprotected”.

It follows a trial of its new vaccine designed to tackle the more contagious sub-variants of Omicron – BA.4 and BA.5 – which are driving the latest UK spike in cases.

Dr Burton said: “Clearly governments will have to make their own public health decisions but my sense is that actually for this upcoming booster season, a broader opportunity to vaccinate everybody, including children, is probably warranted for consideration.”

It follows a trial of its new vaccine designed to tackle the more contagious sub-variants of Omicron
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

The UK has now reached the highest estimate for total infections since the start of May.

It comes after the four-day Jubilee Bank Holiday supercharged summer mixing and just as 200,000 music fans descend on Glastonbury.

Hospital bosses have warned if the summer surge continues they may have to halt some planned operations to manage coronavirus patients.

Dr Burton said that the research showed BA.4 and BA.5 were “more pathogenic” with a higher risk of hospital admission than the original Omicron strain.

Infection rates are still well below the record high of 4.9 million which was reached at the end of March.

It comes as England’s top doctor called on the 14% of over-75s and older adult care home residents who have not yet taken up the offer of a Spring booster to come forward.

NHS England medical director Sir Stephen Powis said: “The recent rise in Covid infection levels in England acts as a timely reminder that it is crucial those who are eligible to come forward for their spring jab and get themselves protected.

“Well over four in five people aged 75 and over have come forward for a spring booster so far and I would urge anyone who hasn’t to get their spring jab as soon as possible.

“The spring dose will not only give you and your loved ones protection this summer amid rising infection levels but also allow you to get a vaccine this autumn at the right time to maximize your protection over winter.”

Any autumn booster program will be confirmed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization with its recommendation expected in the coming weeks.

Spring booster jab appointments can be booked at www.nhs.uk or by phoning 119.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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