The NHS in the South West is encouraging people to come forward for their COVID-19 booster before the offer ends next month.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has today advised that, thanks to the success of the programme, the offer of an initial booster dose should end when the current autumn campaign ends, which will be on Sunday 12 February. More details are available on the GOV.UK website.
Anyone yet to come forward for their COVID-19 booster is being urged to do so before the end of the campaign.
The Government has accepted the JCVI advice, which recommends that the booster offer for all 16 to 49-year-olds who are not considered at risk should end at the same time as this autumn’s campaign.
This means that Sunday 12 February will be the last chance for anyone who has been invited for a COVID-19 booster to take up their offer, until future campaigns are agreed by JCVI and Government.
It comes as the JCVI is recommending moving to a more targeted offer to those considered to be at risk of serious illness.
NHS England South West’s Medical Director, Dr Michael Marsh, said: "Over the last two years our remarkable vaccination teams across the South West have administered over 16 million doses of the vaccine since it first became available in December 2020 and, as a result, the public have received widespread protection from COVID-19 and its variants.
“Just like the weather, it can be difficult to predict what’s coming in the future, which is why it’s important to get protected now, while you still can. We know that the booster really increases immunity and is highly effective at reducing the risk of severe infection and hospitalisation.
"Following the decision by the Government to accept the JCVI’s advice today, I would encourage anyone who has not yet had their COVID-19 booster to book an appointment in the next couple of weeks and make the most of the offer available."
The JCVI will set out further guidance on who will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in future phases of the programme, such as any spring campaign as well as next autumn’s, in due course.
The JCVI has advised that over the course of 2023 the primary course offer for healthy 16 to 49-year-olds should be withdrawn in favour of a more targeted approach.
The NHS will continue to operate a smaller scale vaccine offer from mid-February onwards to ensure those eligible for first and second doses can still get their jabs.
Members of the public can book their vaccine via www.nhs.uk or call NHS 119.