The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced its advice to Government for the COVID-19 vaccine programme in spring this year, and is urging care home residents and older adults should be among the vulnerable groups receiving Covid jabs this spring.
Similar to previous spring and autumn campaigns, the Committee’s advice is to offer the vaccine to those at high risk of serious disease and who are therefore most likely to benefit from vaccination.
Vaccination continues to help protect against severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19.
JCVI advises the following groups 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 from aged 6 months and over – compared with 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.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 immunisation on the JCVI, said:
The COVID-19 spring programme will continue to focus on those at greatest risk of getting seriously ill, who will benefit the most from a further vaccine dose.
It is important that everyone who is eligible takes up the offer this spring. Current vaccines provide good protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and can protect those most vulnerable from death.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:
Our on-going surveillance shows that COVID-19 continues to cause severe illness, particularly in older age groups and those who are immunosuppressed, but also clearly shows that spring and autumn vaccines are effective in helping to protect those most at risk – halving the likelihood of hospitalisation from the virus.
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.