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JCVI updates its COVID-19 booster vaccination guidance

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its guidance and is now advising that all adults aged 40 to 49 should also be offered a booster vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, 6 months after their second dose, irrespective of the vaccines given for the first and second doses.

The new guidance has been brought in in a bid to reduce mortality and hospitalisations from COVID-19 over the 2021 to 2022 winter period and through 2022, as well as to minimise the COVID-19 case infection rate and the chance of new variants emerging,

Booster vaccination should preferably be undertaken with either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2/Comirnaty®) or a half dose of Moderna (mRNA-1273/Spikevax®) vaccine, as previously advised.

The JCVI had previously advised booster vaccination for all adults aged 50 years and over, and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. This programme aims to maintain protection against serious disease and mortality in these more vulnerable groups. JCVI has continued to consider options for booster vaccination for adults in the UK.

Future considerations include the need for booster vaccination (third dose) for 18 to 39-year-olds who are not in an at-risk group, and whether additional booster vaccination (fourth dose) for more vulnerable adult groups may be required. At present, it is not known whether recurrent boosters will be required in the long term, and more data is required to inform these decisions as we move into 2022.