Fourth Covid vaccine jab not yet needed, say UK health advisers

The JCVI said there is currently no need to introduce a fourth jab for the most vulnerable.

Fourth Covid vaccine jab not yet needed, say UK health advisers iStock
Covid-19: The fight to stem the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

A fourth Covid vaccine shot is not yet needed, say UK experts, as booster doses are continuing to provide high protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant in older people.

Latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency show that three months after the third jab, protection against hospitalisation remains at around 90% for the over-65s.

With just two vaccine doses, protection against severe disease drops to around 70% after three months and to 50% after six months.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there is currently no need to introduce a fourth jab for the most vulnerable, such as care home residents and the over-80s.

Instead, it said priority should be given to rolling out first booster doses to all age groups.

Unvaccinated people are also being urged to come forward for their first two doses as soon as possible.

As of Friday, 4,388,543 people in Scotland have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, 4,037,434 their second, and 3,063,000 their third shot or booster.

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 two doses, to increase their protection against serious illness.”