JCVI recommends booster jabs for over 50s

14 September 2021

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended booster jabs for over 50s and younger adults with health conditions, amid concern about waning immunity.

Although experts believe protection against serious illness holds, there are some signs that protection against infection may be waning.

Regardless of which vaccine people have had previously, the JCVI has recommended the use of an mRNA vaccine in the campaign, which should be a full dose of the Pfizer vaccine, in the first instance, or half dose of the Moderna vaccine as an alternative. Astra Zeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, which has also been approved for booster use, can be considered in cases where a patient has an allergy to Pfizer and Moderna.

This should be given no earlier than six months after the second dose. Patients are to be prioritised in the same order as during the first phase of the Covid vaccination campaign.

JCVI Chairman Professor Wei Shen Lim outlined who will be first in line for the booster vaccine:

  • older adults living in residential homes

  • front-line healthcare and social care workers

  • all adults ages 50 and over

  • all those aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions

  • adult household contacts of immunosupressed individuals.

Ministers are expected to give the plan the green light later. If the Government agrees, the booster vaccine campaign “will be full speed ahead on this but in a purposeful way rather than a rushed way”, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

Meanwhile, medicines regulator MHRA has determined that co-administration of flu and Covid-19 vaccines is safe and can go ahead.