UK Covid-19 vaccine boosters to be expanded to all over-50s


All over-50s within the UK will likely be invited for a Covid-19 booster shot within the autumn, the federal government has introduced, as infections proceed to rise sharply throughout the nation.

In May, it was introduced that eligibility could be restricted to over-65s however in an interview with the Financial Times final month Sajid Javid, then well being secretary, made clear that plans had been being laid for an enlargement to youthful folks.

His successor, Steve Barclay, mentioned on Friday that he had accepted the impartial recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to increase the supply of a top-up injection to folks aged above 50, together with residents and employees in care houses for older adults, frontline well being and social care staff, unpaid carers, people aged 5 to 49 in clinical-risk teams and family contacts of those that had been immunosuppressed.

Viruses unfold extra simply within the colder seasons with folks socialising inside, so the chance of getting Covid was greater, he mentioned. “It is absolutely vital the most vulnerable groups receive a booster vaccine to strengthen their immunity against serious disease over winter to protect themselves and reduce pressure on the NHS,” he added.

Barclay additionally introduced that everybody above 50 in England could be eligible for a free flu vaccination this 12 months together with all main faculty kids and people within the first three years of secondary faculty. The supply would even be prolonged to folks in clinical-risk teams, unpaid carers and family contacts of those that had been immunosuppressed, he added.

“If you or your child are eligible for a Covid or flu vaccine, I urge you to come forward as soon as you are invited by the NHS,” Barclay mentioned.

Earlier the Office for National Statistics printed knowledge that confirmed the share of individuals testing optimistic for coronavirus was nonetheless rising throughout the UK, reflecting the affect of the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant.

The ONS Coronavirus Infection Survey confirmed that in England, an estimated 2,873,600 had examined optimistic, suggesting round 1 in 19 folks had the virus within the week to July 6, an increase from 1 in 25 every week earlier.

Scotland confirmed the very best charges, with round one in 16 testing optimistic, a rise from one in 17 every week earlier. In Wales, round 1 in 17 folks examined optimistic, up from 1 in 20. In Northern Ireland, the equal determine was round 1 in 17 folks, an increase from one in 19 the earlier week.

The survey researchers mentioned: “These increases were likely caused by increases in infections compatible with Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.”

Christina Pagel, a professor at University College London and member of the Independent Sage group of science advisers, mentioned that each one nations, areas and age teams had been experiencing “very, very high levels of infection”.

One optimistic, she famous, was that “current hospital statistics suggest we may be approaching a peak which would become apparent in the ONS infection survey in a week or two, but this does not change the fact that we’ve seen yet another damaging and disruptive wave of infection”.

Kit Yates, director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology on the University of Bath, mentioned a few of these infections would have long-term repercussions. “The number of people in the UK suffering with Long Covid is over 2mn. Four hundred thousand of these report that their symptoms are significantly limiting their everyday activities. I’m not sure, as a nation, how much longer we can go on ignoring Covid and its consequences,” he added.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of utilized statistics on the Open University, mentioned the full variety of folks contaminated had elevated by 29 per cent in every week. While infections had not but reached the extent of March and early April this 12 months “they really aren’t far behind”, he warned.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland there was a touch within the outcomes that the will increase is likely to be slowing. But McConway mentioned “a slowing rate of increase is still an increase, and you can’t really detect a change in the speed of increase definitively from just one week’s results anyway.”