The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced its advice to Government for the COVID-19 vaccine programme in spring this year.
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:
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.
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.