The UK on Monday rolled out the fourth Covid dose, termed spring booster, for the elderly above 75 and those who are immunosuppressed aged 12 and over.
London, March 21: The UK on Monday rolled out the fourth Covid dose, termed spring booster, for the elderly above 75 and those who are immunosuppressed aged 12 and over.
The vaccine programme is timely as official figures show Covid infection is rising in all age groups, including the over-70s.
According to a BBC report, an estimated one in every 20 people being affected with Covid, showing that previous vaccine dose effect is waning.
The Spring Covid booster programme is also in line with new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which states that additional jabs will help boost protection for the most vulnerable.
"This spring booster is being offered as a precaution to those at extremely high risk, most of whom received their first booster around six months ago," the UK Health Security agency said in a statement.
"If the number of infections increases over the summer, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with Covid-19," it added.
So far, only people with severely poor immune systems had been eligible to have a fourth jab. But from Monday, the second booster will be administered to: adults aged 75 years and over, residents in a care home for older adults; and individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed, or have weakened immune systems.
The dose will be given six months after the previous dose.
About five million people in the UK will be eligible to book the extra booster jab - with the first 600,000 people to be invited from this week.
"Our phenomenal vaccination programme has saved countless lives and built a wall of defence which has allowed us to learn to live with Covid," said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, in a statement.
"Following the massive success of the rollout so far, we are now offering over-75s and the most vulnerable a spring booster dose to top up their protection against this virus.
"Please come forward as soon as you are contacted by the NHS," Javid said.
Eligible adults will be offered either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, with any eligible people aged between 12 and 18 getting offered the Pfizer vaccine.
More than 118 million vaccinations have been administered in the UK in total, including 32 million top-up jabs since the booster rollout began in September.