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JCVI: ‘No immediate need’ for second Covid boosters

by Jess Hacker
10 January 2022

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There is ‘no immediate need’ to introduce a second booster dose, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.

The recommendation follows data published by the UK Health Security Agency which shows that protection against hospitalisation among people over 65 remains at around 90% three months after a third vaccine dose.

The JCVI said that while there is no current need to begin administering further doses, the ‘timing and need’ for additional shots will continue to be reviewed.

Priority should continue to be given to rolling out first doses and booster vaccines to all age groups, it added.

It comes as practices are working  through the Covid vaccine booster campaign, which has now seen more than 35.4 million doses administered.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s chair of Covid-19 immunisation, said: ‘The current data shows the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups.

‘For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.’

He added that the data is ‘highly encouraging and emphasises the value’ of the booster dose.

In its data analysis on the effectiveness of three Covid shots, the UKHSA noted that with only two vaccine doses, protection against severe disease drops to around 70% after three months and to 50% after six months.

 After a booster dose, protection against mild symptomatic infection can drop to around 30% after around three months.

The UKHSA clarified that further doses of the vaccine are still ‘being considered’.

The Government recently announced it would provide £22.5m funding to support the areas with the lowest Covid vaccine uptake.

Meanwhile, practices were last month urged to ‘make every contact count’ with pregnant people, as part of central efforts to encourage and improve uptake.

Practices were also warned that patient enquiries about Covid treatments may increase in the coming months, after patients were told to contact their GP if they are eligible for Covid treatments but have not been contacted centrally.