Blackburn with Darwen health boss hails additional Covid booster shots

The offer of an additional booster shot to over-75s and the most vulnerable has been hailed as an “important” step forward in the fight against re-infection with coronavirus.

Blackburn with the Darwen Council’s director of public health, Professor Dominic Harrison, said the additional vaccination would combat the drop in protection levels from previous vaccinations.

He was speaking after the government announced that an additional booster dose will be offered to all adults over 75 and the most vulnerable over 12s this spring.

UK vaccine advisers have said an extra dose will help boost their protection against severe Covid-19.

Many of the older ones received their last vaccine in the fall and immunity may now be declining, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) fears.

A fall booster program, aimed at a wider group of people, is also planned for later this year.

Until now, only people with severely weakened immune systems were eligible for a fourth dose – three doses plus a booster.

Professor Harrison says: ‘I welcome this new commitment to deliver a fourth booster to adults over 75, care home residents and the most vulnerable over 12s this spring, as well as a possible booster to a larger population group later in the year.

“We know that vaccinations offer a very high level of protection against Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths, but there is evidence that current boosters (third Covid injection) are effective in protecting against infection.

“That’s probably part of the reason why we’re seeing an increasing number of reinfections as a percentage of all new cases in recent weeks.

“Those who have had three strokes or have been previously infected with Covid (or both) will most likely have very mild symptoms or even no symptoms when re-infected with Covid and should still self-isolate – but those who are older or clinically vulnerable will undoubtedly benefit from a fourth booster shot.

“The risk by mid-summer could be that we get a ‘cohort effect’ of reinfections in the population, as everyone who got their boosters in November, December or January starts to have protection against the virus. greatly decreasing infection at the same time.

“This could cause an increase in reinfections in the middle of the summer – but hopefully with very few hospitalizations.

“Protecting the most vulnerable before that point will be important.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chairman of Covid Vaccination at JCVI, said: “To maintain high levels of protection for the most vulnerable people in the population, an additional dose of vaccine in the spring is advised before a scheduled booster program. in the fall later this year.”

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