The United Kingdom is rolling out its seventh and eighth Covid shots as it continues to grapple with the endemic coronavirus strains circulating in the population.
But unlike the United States, which continues to push Covid shots for the entire population like an annual flu vaccine, the U.K. is not recommending them for healthy under-50s.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), recently warned that an emergency vaccine response may be required if a new variant with “clinically significant biological differences” emerges in the future. However, none of the predominant strains, namely, the Kraken and Orthrus, warrant such an emergency rollout at this time, the committee has concluded.
The JCVI said that the autumn 2023 Covid booster campaign, the seventh in the series of Covid shots thus far, should be expressly offered to those “at higher risk of severe Covid.” The winter boosters would represent the eighth shot in the series.
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During the U.K.’s last autumn booster campaign, the Covid shots were offered to over-50s, residents and staff at nursing homes, and frontline health workers.
The booster shots were also offered to five to 49-year-olds who are in a clinical risk group, such as being immunosuppressed or who live with an immunosuppressed person (despite the jabs failing to prevent infection and transmission).
The first booster campaign will be closed to people under 50 years old, beginning on February 12th.
The JCVI’s recommendations come “as the transition continues away from a pandemic emergency response towards pandemic recovery.”
The Food and Drug Administration, however, is seeking to normalize Covid shots for the U.S. population as an annual routine, even for healthy children and young adults.
In a briefing document published Monday, the FDA said the vaccines will probably need an annual update as the virus evolves. The FDA would select the Covid strain for the vaccine in the spring and then roll out ‘boosters’ for a fall vaccination campaign.
While most people would receive one shot to purportedly restore protection against the virus, older adults and immunocompromised may need two doses, according to the proposed vaccination schedule. Young children who have received only one shot previously would also get two doses, despite being at slim statistical risk from Covid and regardless of natural immunity antibodies.
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