The rules for Covid-19 vaccinations are shifting, as an additional dose of the vaccine will be offered come autumn for the most vulnerable. However, unlike 2022, the booster will not be administered to healthy individuals aged from 50 to 64, upon the counsel of the UK’s leading immunisation experts.
Individuals who may receive the autumn Covid booster include older adults residing in care homes, all individuals aged 65 and over, individuals at clinical risk aged six months to 64 years, frontline health and social care workers, household contacts of immunocompromised individuals aged 12-64, and caregivers and care home staff for older adults aged 16-64. In the previous year, those over 50 were given an extra dose, however, this year, experts have suggested that only individuals over 65 be automatically considered for the booster. The National Health Service (NHS) will make contact with those who are eligible. The administration of these booster vaccines will begin on 11th September, with a targeted completion date of the 31st October.
The vaccines currently in use in the UK include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sanofi/GSK, and Novavax. While all substantially boost the immunity rendered by the earlier doses and offer comprehensive protection against severe Covid-19, specific vaccines will be administered as per the age, health status and other considerations of the individuals. Unless you fall into certain categories, such as those who are pregnant, under 18, or over 75, the choice of vaccine is not open for selection. All are advised to go with the vaccine that is offered, owing to the primary goal of preventing severe illness or death.
If you’ve contracted Covid-19, it is advisable to wait four weeks post a positive test result, irrespective of your symptoms, before getting vaccinated. Vaccination is discouraged in the event of severe illness or high fever. Significant to note, vaccines do not contain the virus nor lead to false-positive test results.
As it stands, around 88% of the UK population over the age of 12 have received both doses of the vaccine, with 93% having been administered at least one dose. Children aged between six months and four years, who are at an increased risk from Covid, are currently the only ones receiving primary vaccine doses.
While side effects are a part of any vaccine’s immune response, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation anticipates that come autumn 2023, merely a single dose will be required to provide primary protection. However, individuals with compromised immune systems may qualify for additional doses.
Since the advent of Covid vaccines, a slew of misleading posts and fake news have been circulating on the internet, chiefly claiming that the vaccines are not safe. These false narratives often quote real statistical data out of context. Unfortunately, influential figures such as former Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who was expulsed from the party for transgressions including comparing vaccine side effects to the Holocaust, have played a part in propagating these detrimental falsehoods. It has been scientifically established that youth do not face an increased risk of heart complications post vaccination. Hence, associating negative incidents that have occurred post vaccination to the jab is misleading and baseless.