The COVID booster vaccine rollout is being extended to include those aged 40 and over to offer further protection against the virus ahead of winter.
The Island is to follow the latest advice from the Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in offering a booster dose to this age group, approximately 6,000 more residents. The move comes as nearly 13,000 residents have come forward to receive their additional dose since the start of the booster rollout in early October.
Evidence from trials shows that protection provided by the first and second doses against symptomatic disease, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 declines over time, especially among older and at-risk individuals.
A booster vaccine is being offered to adults aged 40 and over to increase their protection ahead of the winter months, with data from the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showing that a booster increases protection back to over 90% against symptomatic COVID-19.
Lawrie Hooper MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care said:
‘By expanding the eligibility for the booster to include those aged 40 and over, it means that we are providing more of the community the chance to top-up their declining immunity ahead of winter.
‘A drop in immunity following the first two primary doses could result in an uptick in cases and hospitalisation, resulting in added pressures for our health services in an already busy winter period. The encouraging results from the UKHSA highlight the importance of why those eligible should receive the booster.'
The minister added:
‘I urge anyone who is eligible and receives their invite to please come forward and take up the opportunity to get the booster. Apart from protecting yourself, it is the single most useful thing you can do to help prevent a surge in demand on the health care services at its busiest time of year.’
Invites are in the process of being sent out to all eligible cohorts who have reached the six months mark following their second dose.
Anyone who is unable to attend their appointment is asked to please contact the team either by calling 111 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to rearrange at the earliest possible opportunity.