Residents living in care homes for older people, those aged 70+, care workers and the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will be offered a third dose of a Covid-19 booster vaccine from September.

The Covid-19 booster jab will be available as well as the annual flu vaccine from this September, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

Millions considered to be most at risk from Covid-19 will get the booster jab from September, according to interim advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Final JCVI advice will be published before September taking into account the latest data about emerging variants.

Sajid Javid: ’We need to learn to live with this virus’

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The phenomenal vaccine rollout has already saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented millions of infections, helping to wrestle back control of the pandemic and ease lockdown restrictions so we can return to normal as soon as possible.

“We welcome this interim advice, which will help us ensure we are ready in our preparations for Autumn. We look forward to receiving the Committee’s final advice in due course.

“We need to learn to live with this virus. Our first COVID-19 vaccination programme is restoring freedom in this country, and our booster programme will protect this freedom. We are working with the NHS to make sure we can rapidly deliver this programme to maintain protection for people in the winter months.”

Boosters aim to ensure protection from COVID-19 is maintained ahead of winter and against new variants and are intended to prolong the protection vaccines provide in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19.

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

As part of Stage 1, individuals offered a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine from September 2021 will be: • those living in residential care homes for older adults.

• adults aged 70+.

• adults aged 16+ considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

• adults aged 16+ who are immunosuppressed.

• frontline health and social care workers.

In Stage 2, those offered a third COVID-19 booster vaccine after Stage 1, will be adults aged 50+, adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in a flu or COVID-19 at-risk group (as outlined in the Green Book) and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

27,000 deaths prevented in England according to PHE

The UK recorded 26,068 new coronavirus cases today (the highest daily total since 29 January when there were 29,079). Some 14 deaths were recorded.

Analysis from Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge suggests that vaccines have so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.

PHE data shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.

The analysis suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.

The government has said two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine used in the UK will provide strong protection against severe disease for at least six months for the majority, and there is some evidence that longer lasting protection may be given to some.

The government says it is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by 19 July, two weeks earlier than planned.

CMO: ‘Other respiratory viruses particularly flu will make a comeback’

England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “We need to keep going and finish giving second doses to those remaining adults who have not had them; this is the best thing we can do prevent the disease from making a comeback which disrupts society later in the year.

“We want to be on the front foot for COVID-19 booster vaccination to keep the probability of loss of vaccine protection due to waning immunity or variants as low as possible. Especially over the coming autumn and winter.

“Fewer or no restrictions will mean that other respiratory viruses, particularly flu, will make a comeback and quite possibly be an additional problem this winter, so we will need to ensure protection against flu as well as maintaining protection against COVID-19.”