Covid-19 booster jab offer set to end

Covid booster vaccines for healthy people are being wound down as the Government moves away from its “pandemic emergency response” approach.

Healthy people between 16 and 49 years of age are currently able to get three Covid jabs, two primary doses and a booster.

However, amid dwindling uptake, the UKHSA is ending its evergreen offer which has been in place since the inception of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Third doses were launched in Dec 2021 but will end on Feb 12, the UKHSA has announced. The current autumn booster drive for over-50s will also end on the same day.

The Telegraph understands that the Government is also preparing to wind down the open offer of the first two doses over the coming months.

The move will mean unvaccinated healthy under-50s will soon not be able to get a Covid jab unless recommended by a medical professional.

More targeted strategy to be followed

Health officials are hoping to move to a more targeted vaccination strategy where non-vulnerable individuals only receive a Covid jab if there is a clear clinical need.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) on Wednesday gave advice to the Government to start planning for a spring and autumn Covid booster campaign for the most vulnerable.

Details of this are yet to be determined but it is understood it will be similar to in 2022. Spring doses last year were given to over-75s, the immunosuppressed and care home residents, while over-50s and clinically vulnerable individuals could get an autumn 2022 dose.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: “The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS.

“That is why we have advised planning for further booster vaccines for persons at higher risk of serious illness through an autumn booster programme later this year.

“We will very shortly also provide final advice on a spring booster programme for those at greatest risk.”

Limited uptake by the young and healthy

The open-door policy of Covid boosters for the healthy and young is being ended because following initial widespread uptake, there has been limited uptake recently.

Since April 2022 less than 0.1 per cent of eligible under-50s have got the third dose, for example.

Almost 13.7 million 16-49-year-olds have received three doses of the Covid vaccine while 19.8 and 21.3 million people had their second and first doses, respectively.

There are 29.6 million people aged between 16 and 49, according to Government data, with just 46 per cent of eligible under-50s getting three doses. 

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