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JCVI announces advice for 2024 spring COVID-19 vaccine programme

The committee has advised that the vaccine should be given to those at the highest risk.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced its advice to the UK government in relation to the 2024 spring COVID-19 vaccine programme.

The committee’s advice encourages the government to offer the vaccine to those at high risk of serious disease and most likely to benefit from vaccination.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 tend to co-circulate at different times of the year. In August and September 2023, the most dominant circulating variants were from the EG and XBB lineages.

The current COVID-19 vaccines “provide good protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and can protect those most vulnerable from death,” said professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 immunisation, JCVI.

The JCVI has advised that adults aged 75 and over, residents in care homes for older adults and individuals aged six months and over who are immunosuppressed should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine this spring.

The committee’s recommendation builds on the previous advice given in spring 2023, which advised, as a precautionary measure, that individuals aged five years and over who are immunosuppressed should be offered an extra booster vaccine dose.

The new advice follows on from the updated advice in April 2023 on the COVID-19 vaccination of children aged six months to four years in a clinical risk group.

Surveillance data by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that people who received a COVID-19 vaccine in 2023 were around 50% less likely to be admitted to hospital with the virus two weeks after vaccination in comparison to those who did not.

Dr Mary Ramsay, director, public health programmes, UKHSA, said: “COVID-19 continues to cause severe illness, particularly in older age groups and those who are immunosuppressed.

“I urge everyone who is eligible to take up the offer of a vaccine as soon as possible once invited – it will help improve your immunity to COVID-19, which does wane over time.”