People will no longer be able to get a first or second dose of Covid-19 vaccine after 30 June, the Government has announced.
Setting out more details of the spring booster campaign for the most vulnerable, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay urged anyone who had not yet taken up the offer of a first or second Covid dose to come forward.
He added that NHS England would confirm a start date for the latest round of boosters soon but general practices have previously been notified the programme would run from the 17 April to 30 June.
The top-up doses will be offered to adults aged 75 years and over, residents in a care home for older adults and immunosuppressed individuals aged 5 years and over.And Mr Barclay confirmed that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had advised that four vaccines would be used in the spring booster programme:
- Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent
- Moderna bivalent
- Sanofi/GSK monovalent (beta variant)
- Novavax monovalent (wild-type variant) but only when alternative products are not considered clinically suitable
Guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said those eligible would be offered an appointment between April and June with the highest risk being called in first.
People will be offered the booster jab around six months from their last dose but they can have it from three months, UKHSA said.
On choice of vaccine the guidance states: ‘These updated vaccines boost protection well, and give slightly higher levels of antibody against the more recent strains of Covid-19 (Omicron) than the vaccines you would have received previously.
‘As we cannot predict which variants of Covid-19 will be circulating this spring and summer, the JCVI has concluded that all of these vaccines can be used and that no one should delay vaccination to receive a different vaccine.’
The Government had previously announced that availability of first and second doses would be phased out over 2023.
Health secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘It is important that we continue to ensure the most vulnerable are protected through a targeted seasonal vaccination offer for those most at risk, which is why I have accepted advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on this year’s spring booster programme.
‘The spring booster programme is due to end on 30 June and as we live with the virus without past restrictions on our freedoms, I am also announcing that the offer of a first or second dose of Covid vaccine will end at this time.
‘Covid continues to infect thousands of people every week, so I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet taken up the offer of a first or second dose of vaccine to join the 42 million who have already come forward for both doses.’