Coronavirus: Hawkins slams 'booster after booster' approach

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Following the release of the latest data released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), it has been shown that booster doses still provide high levels of protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant among older adults.

That is why the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which is involved in an ogoing review of the booster programme, has said a fourth jab may not be needed.

There committee has adviised that there is no immediate need to introduce even a second booster dose, or fourth jab, to the most vulnerable (care home residents and those aged over 80).

Current figures indicate that around 3 months after they received the third jab, protection against hospitalisation among those aged 65 and over remains at about 90 percent.

And with only 2 vaccine doses, protection against severe disease still drops to around 70 percent after 3 months and to 50 percent after 6 months.

But the timing and need for further booster doses will continue to be reviewed as the data evolves, the committee has said.

The committee is also advising that priority should still be given to rolling out first booster doses to all age groups.

And the JCVI are urging people who are not vaccinated to come forward for their first 2 doses as soon as possible.

 

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.

“The data is highly encouraging and emphasises the value of a booster jab. With Omicron continuing to spread widely, I encourage everyone to come forward for their booster dose, or if unvaccinated, for their first 2 doses, to increase their protection against serious illness.”

The latest study by the UKHSA looked at booster doses in those aged over 65, who were among the first to be eligible when the booster rollout began in mid-September.

Although the duration of protection against severe disease remains high with a booster dose, protection against mild symptomatic infection is more short-lived and drops to around 30 percent by about 3 months.

 

Back in December, UK researchers undertook a study which found that with the Omicron variant, Covid booster shot could provide around 85 percent protection against severe illness.

This is a breaking story. More to follow.

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