The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to protect the nation against the virus. As of 13 July 2022, over 149 million doses have been administered in the UK, including over 53.6 million first doses, over 50.2 million second doses and over 40 million third primary or booster doses in the UK. This represents uptake of 93.3% for the first dose, 87.4% for the second dose and 69.6% for the third primary and booster doses in the UK. During the spring campaign, data to 10 July shows over 4 million over 75s received a further dose in England. Up to 10 July, over 85% of those eligible by the end of May, had received a spring booster, ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society have recent protection.
On 15 July, Her Majesty’s Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for autumn 2022. The JCVI’s advice is that a COVID-19 booster vaccine should be offered to:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
- Frontline health and social care workers
- All adults aged 50 years and over
- Persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group including pregnant women, as set out in the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) Green Book Chapter 14a - Tables 3 and 4
- Persons aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
- Persons aged 16 to 49 years who are carers, as set out in the UKHSA’s Green Book Chapter 14a - Table 3
The final eligible groups are broader than those announced in the JCVI’s interim advice in May. The committee considered the recent epidemiology of the BA.4 and BA.5 waves, as well as the benefits of aligning the COVID-19 programme with the flu vaccine rollout, concluding that expanding the offer would provide necessary protection to those at higher risk of severe illness and keep greater numbers of people out of hospital.
All eligible groups are encouraged to take up the vaccine when the time comes, even if they have had a spring booster, to give themselves the best possible protection against severe outcomes of COVID-19 this winter.
In addition, the Department of Health and Social Care will once again be offering the free flu vaccine to additional groups. These groups will only be eligible once the most vulnerable, including previously announced pre-school and primary school children, those aged 65 years and over and those in clinical risk groups, have been offered the jab.
The additional groups set to be offered the free flu vaccine in England will be:
- All adults aged 50 to 64 years
- Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9, who will be offered the vaccine in order of school year (starting with the youngest first)
The National Health Service will announce in due course when and how eligible groups will be able to book an appointment for their COVID-19 autumn booster, and when people aged 50 to 64 years old who are not in a clinical risk group will be able to get their free flu jab.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords