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JCVI advises plan to roll out Covid booster vaccinations from September

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the advice on Covid booster vaccinations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The interim advice from JCVI is to plan to offer booster vaccines from September 2021 to maintain protection given by first and second doses.

The Minister said:

“Today’s announcement by JCVI is welcome news which allows us to plan a booster programme for early autumn.

“The huge success of the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland is undoubtedly saving lives and is key to delivering a roadmap out of the pandemic.

“The booster programme will provide additional protection for our most vulnerable and will help protect our health service ahead of the winter months.”

The final JCVI advice will be published before September and will take into account the latest epidemiological situation, additional scientific data from trials such as Cov-Boost, real-time surveillance of the effectiveness of the vaccines over time and emerging variants.

The final advice could change from the interim advice as further data is analysed.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride said:

“Booster vaccines will prolong the protection already offered by first and second doses and provide an additional advantage in the fight against Covid.

“Whilst final advice may change, we can now plan and prepare so that our preparations are complete and our programme is ready to adapt and deliver in the autumn.”

The JCVI’s interim advice is that a third booster jab is offered to the following groups in 2 stages:

Stage 1. The following people should be offered a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine as soon as possible from September 2021:

  • adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults

  • all adults aged 70 years or over

  • adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable

  • frontline health and social care workers

Stage 2. The following people should be offered a third COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage 1 with equal emphasis on deployment of the influenza vaccine where eligible:

  • all adults aged 50 years and over

  • all adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group as outlined in the Green Book

  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

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