People who are most at risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered another booster vaccine against the virus in spring 2023, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.
In advice published on 7 March 2023, the JCVI said the booster should be offered to adults aged over 75 years, people living in care homes for older adults, and anyone aged five years and over who is immunosuppressed.
The advice follows interim guidance from the JCVI published in January 2023, which recommended booster vaccine campaigns in both spring and autumn 2023.
According to the latest advice, eligible patients will be offered the vaccine around six months after their previous dose, with NHS England expected to confirm operational details for the programme shortly.
The JCVI has recommended the four vaccines for use in the spring campaign: the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine; the Moderna bivalent vaccine; the Sanofi/GSK monovalent vaccine and the Novavax monovalent vaccine.
The guidance adds that the Novavax vaccine should only be used “when alternative products are not considered clinically suitable”.
Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI’s COVID-19 committee, said the booster programme in spring 2023 “provides an opportunity for those who are at highest risk of severe illness to keep their immunity topped up”.
“This year’s spring programme will bridge the gap to the planned booster programme in the autumn, enabling those who are most vulnerable to be well protected throughout the summer,” he said.
Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “COVID-19 is still circulating widely, and we have recently seen increases in older people being hospitalised.
“It is important those at highest risk of severe illness do not become complacent and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward once the booster programme starts.”