Over-50s and clinically vulnerable prioritised for autumn 'booster' jab against Covid
COVID booster jabs could be rolled out in Northern Ireland to the over-50s and people with underlying health conditions by September.
Chief Medical Officer Sir Michael McBride confirmed yesterday that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the expert body which advises the UK government on vaccines, has provided interim advice on the delivery of a third dose for the north in autumn.
A bigger flu season than normal is expected this year, meaning extra protection against coronavirus is likely to be needed.
The CMO said the booster rollout will be similar to the first stage of the main vaccination programme, with certain groups prioritised ahead of others depending on their age and health.
"That's because we don't know how long immunity lasts...natural infection immunity declines or wanes over time and we know that more likely than not, immunity post-vaccination will decrease over time," he told the BBC.
"For those people at greatest risk, it's particularly important."
Advice on third doses for the under-50s has still not been issued though the CMO noted that "in general younger people have a better immune response to vaccines".
"We will be watching very carefully how long this immunity lasts," he added.
Experts are advising that 30 million of the most vulnerable across the UK should receive a booster shot in the autumn.