Another UK Covid booster could be rolled out in autumn, health secretary says

Sajid Javid says he will follow advice from Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on need for fourth vaccination

'When it comes to vaccinations, I think we rightly take the advice of our clinicians,' said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid. PA
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UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested that another booster of the coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out in the autumn, as he said he expected experts to recommend an extra dose of the shot.

He said he would follow the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), but suggested the shots would likely be offered before the end of the year.

“When it comes to vaccinations, I think we rightly take the advice of our clinicians,” he said, speaking on ITV’s Peston programme

“There’s a committee, it’s called the JCVI and we listen very carefully to what they’ve got to say.

“They look at the data very, very carefully and their latest advice as you say is that there should be a second boost — or let’s call it a fourth dose — but to focus on those over 75, those in care homes, those who are immunosuppressed.

“Now we will start that by the end of this month, that’s what we’ve said and we’re completely on track for that. But we listen to their advice all the time, should they come forward.”

But when pushed as to whether this would be widened to the general population, he said: “I think at some point they will and they’ve actually been clear, and their most recent advice is that they think that towards the end of this year, maybe in the autumn, there will be a need to give a lot more people a boost, an offer of a boost, but I’ll wait for that advice.”

Last month, Mr Javid said people in specific groups will receive a further dose in the coming weeks to help those at the highest risk of serious illness maintain a high level of protection against the virus.

Health services across the UK will offer people the shot from about six months after their last dose.

As of Wednesday, the government said 516,289 people had tested positive for Covid in the past seven days, a rise of 170,230 from the previous seven days.

In the same time period, 744 died within 28 days of a positive test, a decrease of 34 deaths compared to the previous period.

The number of people in hospital with Covid over the past seven days had also risen to 11,047, from 1,912.

Updated: March 17, 2022, 6:56 AM