The UK government declared on January 25 that COVID-19 boosters would soon no longer be available to anybody under 50 who has no conditions that make them susceptible to catching the virus.
The government is considering a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to discontinue the booster campaign for most age groups because uptake in the population under 50 has been deficient since early 2022.
The UK government announced that from February 12, the booster would no longer be available to healthy people in that age bracket.
NHS and health Officials’ Statements
Steve Russell, an official from the National Health Service (NHS), advised individuals to obtain their booster before it is no longer available.
UK Health Minister Maria Caulfield said, “The NHS will continue to operate a lower scale vaccine offer from mid-February onwards to ensure people eligible for first and second doses may still obtain their shots.”
According to Caulfield, health officials have also agreed with the advice to discontinue offering the primary set of vaccinations to people who are not at clinical risk.
The primary series campaign has not yet come to a close on a specific date. By focusing on “those persons at higher risk of severe COVID-19,” such as people aged 12 to 49 who are household contacts of immune-suppressed people, the JCVI advised that it be discontinued by the end of 2023. In the UK, most kids already lack booster or primary series access.
Uptake of the booster, or third dose, in all those under 50 eligible for one has been low since April 2022. According to officials, at less than 0.1 percent every week, following an initial high uptake in December 2021.
Most individuals 12 years of age and older have had a primary series, while booster uptake has been significantly less common, particularly among younger individuals. The older a person was, the more probable it was that they would receive a booster as part of a campaign that was started in the fall of 2022.
For instance, more than 80% of individuals 75 or older obtained a booster, compared to only 42.4% of people in this age group. To better combat COVID-19, UK regulators approved the Moderna and Pfizer bivalent boosters in late 2022.
The government will concentrate on immunizing and bolstering the immune systems of the elderly and those with weakened immune systems based on recommendations from the JCVI. This independent committee advises the government on vaccines.
Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI for COVID-19 immunization, stated that the COVID-19 vaccination program “continues to reduce serious sickness across the community while working to defend the [National Health Service].”
“For those at greater risk of serious disease, we have advised preparing for further booster vaccinations through an autumn booster program later this year.”