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Bookings open on Monday for over-40s boosters and second jabs for 16-year-olds



Teenagers aged 16 and 17 years old will be able to book their second Covid jab from Monday, just seven days after the Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI) and Immunisation updated its guidance for the age group.

Adults aged 40 and over will also be able to book their booster doses as the next phase of the vaccination programme gets underway.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has encouraged everyone who can get vaccinated to do so in order to prevent a rise of Covid cases similar to that currently seen in some European countries.

Austria has announced a new national lockdown starting from Monday in response to a surge in cases, while other countries on the continent have unveiled tighter public health restrictions.

Mr Javid said: “Getting your Covid-19 booster vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter and will help reduce the pressure on the NHS.

“While the government is continuing to monitor a wide range of data to ensure the country remains protected, we have very sadly seen a surge in cases in parts of Europe.

“The most important thing we can do to stop a similar rise in this country is get the jab – so please get your vaccines as soon as you can so we can keep the virus at bay.”

Almost 200,000 young people aged 16 and 17 years old are already eligible for a second dose of the vaccine, having had their first dose at least 12 weeks ago, according to NHS England.

Nearly 500,000 adults in their 40s are currently eligible for a booster jab.

Last week the JCVI extended its advice on second doses for young people aged 16 to 17 years old to recommend the additional jab for those who are not high risk.

Children within this age group who have underlying health conditions that place them at higher risk of COVID-19 were already eligible for a second dose.

“When formulating advice in relation to childhood immunisations, JCVI has consistently held that the main focus of its considerations should be the benefit to children and young people themselves, balanced against any potential harms from vaccination to children and young people; the population level impact of vaccinating this age group has not been considered in the development of this advice,” the JCVI said.

Second doses should be received 12 weeks after the first dose, while those offered boosters should get them six months after their second dose, according to official guidance in England.

Covid vaccination appointments can be arranged via the National Booking Service a month before individuals become eligible, enabling people to receive their additional dose as soon as they reach the six-month or 12-week milestone.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “The NHS has once again been quick to roll out to newly eligible groups, including protecting people in their forties with a booster and providing second doses to young people, with hundreds of thousands of invites landing over the next few weeks.”

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup urged people to take up the offer of vaccination against Covid-19.

“We must protect the gains we have made through our vaccination programme,” she said.

The expansion of the vaccine rollout comes amid fears that this winter could be most difficult in the history of the NHS.

Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “In the run-up to the festive period and what we know will be a challenging winter, I would encourage everyone who is eligible and invited to take up the offer of a life-saving booster as soon as possible to protect yourself and those around you.”



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