Government advised on fifth Covid vaccine in autumn booster programme

Fourth doses are currently being given to those aged 75 and over and people at highest risk.

Government advised on fifth Covid vaccine in autumn booster programme iStock
The committee said there was 'considerable uncertainty' over the likelihood of any potential future wave of the virus.

The Scottish Government has welcomed interim advice on the roll-out of 2022’s autumn Covid booster programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the fifth jabs would be for more vulnerable adults, alongside frontline social care and health workers, in order to maintain their protection over the winter against severe Covid-19.

The committee said there was “considerable uncertainty” over the likelihood, timing and severity of any potential future wave of coronavirus in the year ahead.

Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Prioritising those most at risk has been our approach from the outset.

“We will work closely with NHS boards to plan for this booster campaign in line with this interim advice and we stand ready to act on any further advice on offering boosters to additional groups in the future.”

Yousaf said vaccination had been the most effective tool against Covid-19 but that the degree of protection offered wanes over time.

He said booster vaccination is needed to maintain protection for those at highest risk of severe effects of the virus.

Fourth doses are currently being given to those aged 75 and over and people at highest risk.

However, the official Scottish Government list of those deemed at the greatest danger of contracting Covid-19 is to be ended this month amid a “fall is in risk of hospitalisation or death” from the virus.

The JCVI’s current view is that in autumn 2022, a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and staff
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those 65 years of age and over
  • adults aged 16 to 64 years who are in a clinical risk group

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: “Last year’s autumn booster vaccination programme provided excellent protection against severe Covid-19, including against the Omicron variant.

“We have provided interim advice on an autumn booster programme for 2022 so that the NHS and care homes are able to start the necessary operational planning, to enable high levels of protection for more vulnerable individuals and frontline healthcare staff over next winter.

“As we continue to review the scientific data, further updates to this advice will follow.”