Health Minister, Maria Caulfield, has accepted official advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to offer a COVID spring vaccine to those most at risk of serious illness in England.
JCVI advises that the following should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine this spring:
- adults aged 75 years and over
- residents in a care home for older adults
- individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed (as defined in tables 3 or 4 in the COVID-19 chapter of the Green Book)
The advice on eligibility is similar to last spring, but with the age of individuals who are immunosuppressed now eligible reduced to aged 6 months and over, from 5 years and over in 2023. This follows updated advice last April on COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 6 months to 4 years in a clinical risk group.
The Health Minister said it is important the most vulnerable groups are offered a vaccine through the NHS programme to strengthen their immunity to protect themselves and reduce pressure on the NHS.
UKHSA surveillance data on last spring’s programme showed that those who received a vaccine were around 50% less likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 from two weeks following vaccination, compared to those who did not receive one.
Vaccine uptake for last year’s spring programme for those aged 75 years and over was 67.5%.
NHS England will confirm details on how and when eligible people can access the spring vaccine in due course.