Booster vaccines to be offered in Britain from September

Pharmacies to take centre stage in distribution of third doses before winter

Booster vaccines are to be offered to 32 million people in Britain from next month amid fears protection could wane before winter.

Up to 2,000 pharmacies across England will run the programme so the National Health Service can focus on clearing a backlog of patients waiting for other treatments.

The government is planning to distribute 2.5 million third doses per week, The Telegraph reported.

The booster campaign could start as soon as September 6, which would see the campaign completed by early December if it goes to plan.

All adults aged 50 and older, as well as those who are immunosuppressed, are expected to be offered the booster vaccines.

Officials have drawn up plans for it to be given with the flu shot, with one injection in each arm floated as an idea.

Ministers are considering allowing people to receive a different brand of vaccine to the shot they received in their first and second injections following a trial that found mixing vaccines gave more protection.

It is understood seven vaccines are being tested, with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax showing positive results in preliminary tests.

Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation recommended in June that the booster campaign should be completed in two stages.

The committee said those aged 70 and older should be first to receive the third injection followed by all adults over 50.

With most young adults only receiving their second dose in the summer, the committee reserved its decision on when this group should receive a third dose.

On Sunday, 38,858 people received their first injection, while 212,159 received their second. More than 88 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

Updated: August 2nd 2021, 7:53 AM