Autumn and Winter Plan includes COVID-19 booster vaccinations
The Government has published a COVID Response - Autumn and Winter Plan for 2021 which outlines a five point strategy to tackle a rise in COVID-19 and flu cases in England this winter.
The plan includes a programme of booster jabs for those who were in the first phase for COVID-19 vaccination (priority groups 1 -9) and whose second jab was more than six months ago.
The programme starts on 20 September and eligibile people are:
• those living in residential care homes for older adults
• all adults aged 50 years or over
• frontline health and social care workers
• all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
• adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
The booster jab, which follows JCVI advice to Government, is recommended to be a single dose of the Pfizer jab or half dose of the Moderna one. It can be administered at the same time as the flu jab, which is regarded as equally important this winter. Other elements of the COVID-19 vaccination programme continue, to maximise uptake.
JCVI statement regarding a COVID-19 booster vaccine programme for winter 2021 to 2022
The Winter Plan confirms PCR and LFD testing will remain free for the time being. Legal requirements to self isolate, where they apply, will continue, as will financial assistance.
The Plan says it should be possible to handle a further resurgence with less damaging measures than the lockdowns and economic and social restrictions. However, as a Plan B, it keeps in reserve the possibility of compulsory face masks for the public, and vaccine passports. A revised framework for international travel will be published soon.