The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to consider the options for and timing of a booster programme to revaccinate adults in order to reduce mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations from COVID-19 over the 2021 to 2022 winter period and through 2022, as well as to minimise the COVID-19 case infection rate and the chance of new variants emerging.
JCVI has previously advised booster vaccination for all adults aged 50 years and over, and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. This programme aims to maintain protection against serious disease and mortality in these more vulnerable groups. JCVI has continued to consider options for booster vaccination for adults in the UK.
JCVI advises that all adults aged 40 to 49 should also be offered a booster vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, 6 months after their second dose, irrespective of the vaccines given for the first and second doses.
Booster vaccination should preferably be undertaken with either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2/Comirnaty®), or a half dose of Moderna (mRNA-1273/Spikevax®) vaccine, as previously advised.
Future considerations include the need for booster vaccination (third dose) for 18 to 39 year olds who are not in an at-risk group, and whether additional booster vaccination (fourth dose) for more vulnerable adult groups may be required. At present, it is not known whether recurrent boosters will be required in the long term, and more data is required to inform these decisions as we move into 2022.
JCVI will maintain close review of available data related to durability of protection against severe COVID-19 (hospitalisation and deaths) in all age groups and will develop further advice in due course.