Experts and government advisors agree that healthy youth do not need annual COVID boosters.
Ministers have begun planning to launch an annual vaccination program that targets COVID-19, but it is unclear whether this will extend to individuals who are not considered medically vulnerable, such as the elderly. and those with weakened immune systems.
However, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) is currently reviewing the evidence as to whether a third dose will eventually be needed for all adults, a member pointed out. Granthshala That promoting fit and healthy under-40s may be unnecessary for years to come.
Professor Robin Shattock, an immunologist at Imperial College London, also agreed that “it is unlikely we will see the need for an annual increase in youth” unless they have an underlying condition that puts them at greater risk.
Following JCVI’s new recommendations, people aged 40 to 49 are now eligible to proceed to their third dose of the COVID vaccine – but only if six months have passed since they received their second jab.
More than 15.3 million booster jabs have been administered in the UK so far, with an increase of 87 per cent among all over 80. More than half of all over 50s are increased with a third dose.
Although ministers are now pushing for boosters to be given to all adults this winter, the JCVI source said there was uncertainty about what the UK’s future vaccination program would look like.
“A lot depends on the epidemiology of infection in early 2022,” he said. “Whenever we ask our modellers, we’re told there are too many variables. How, for example, will the changed patterns of human behavior due to cold weather and Christmas affect infection rates?”
The source suggested that clinically vulnerable patients, such as the immunocompromised, may require boosters at six to 12-month intervals for the next two years, with “less vulnerable groups possibly at 12-month intervals”. .
However, people under the age of 40 who are fit and healthy may not require a booster jab, the JCVI member said. “Time will tell,” he said. “The main problem appears to be vaccine fatigue or complacency.”
Prof Shattock said it would be “a practical and rational approach to offer boosters to the elderly and immunocompromised every year.”
“It is less clear whether there are particularly vulnerable groups who may need six monthly boosters,” he said. “As we get more data, we must understand the extent of immunity needed to prevent infection in high-risk groups. This would allow any further adjustments in the use of the booster.”
He added that improving treatment for COVID should also be taken into account by decision makers when considering rolling out future booster jabs for the entire population.
Two antiviral tablets have recently been found to be highly effective in reducing hospitalization and mortality in at-risk patients with mild to moderate infections. Medicines, if taken early enough, prevent disease progression in newly infected people.
The UK has ordered 730,000 courses of the two treatments, which are set to be made available to patients in the coming weeks.
Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh, said advances in COVID vaccine technology could reduce the need to offer routine booster jab for most of the population.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /