HomeWorld NewsWill I need a Covid booster vaccine and when will it be available?
Will I need a Covid booster vaccine and when will it be available?
CORONAVIRUS vaccines are being rolled out across the country with millions of Brits now having been double jabbed.
Trials are now underway to test how effective a third booster jab would be in the autumn months – but when will you get a third dose?
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week revealed that plans for the extra shot would soon be revealed.
Experts have warned that booster vaccines should be a natural next step and not an "emergency response".
Over 43.1 million Brits have had a first dose of their Covid vaccine with 31.4 million now having been double jabbed.
Mr Hancock said a third jab would offer even more protection as the nation races to get every adult jabbed by next month.
Charities have also warned that people with Asthma should be at the top of the list for booster jabs after many people missed their jabs at the time they were meant to have received them.
Will everyone need a booster jab?
It's hoped that the booster jabs will help prevent an autumn wave of the virus in the UK.
As part of the current trial people receiving the booster shot will have to be 30 or over and will need to have been jabbed early on in the vaccine programme.
This could mean people over the age of 75, as well as health and care workers would receive the extra jab as part of the trial.
The study is trialling several vaccines and researchers want to understand how effective a booster jab might be.
Findings are not expected until September so it's not yet known who will be given an extra jab.
It could be that people with weakened immune systems, the elderly or people with underlying health conditions are prioritised for this, in a similar way that they were prioritised for the first jabs.
When will they be available?
Health leaders are currently questioning how long protection from the jabs being rolled out will last.
The jabs being rolled out offer over 90 per cent of protection once you have had two doses, but it's not clear how long that will last for.
The head of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson told the BBC: "Since flu jabs start in September we need ministers and the JCVI – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – to really answer those questions as quickly as possible, so we're ready to administer the jabs we need to in the autumn.
"We cannot just carry on as we are, with an emergency response largely delivered by an overstretched workforce.”
Mr Hancock said the logistics of booster jabs would need to be considered before they are rolled out.
At present in the UK you can get a jab at a vaccine site, pharmacy or GP surgery and it's not yet clear if the third jab would be rolled out in the same way.
The Health Secretary said: "We've got to make sure we get the logistics right; for instance, GPs have been so heavily involved in this vaccination effort, but GPs have also got to do their day job, so that's something we're working hard on now, and, in the next few weeks, when we get the clinical data through on what's the most effective combinations to have… then we'll set out all the details of the booster programme for the autumn."
Experts have said using the flu jab register could be one way of deciding who gets the third shot.
Asthma UK said there needs to be a simple and effective system to make sure that people with asthma who are eligible and most in need of a booster vaccine will get it.
Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said : "With a Covid-19 booster vaccine rollout looking likely, the government must act. We think the best way to ensure that no one is left behind is to look at vaccinating everyone with asthma who needs it and is on the free flu jab list.
"We are urging the government to make this a priority and encouraging everyone with asthma to write to their MP to make this happen.”
In order to get all asthma sufferers the jabs they need, Asthma UK is urging the government to use the same list which is used for the free flu jab, which includes over three million asthma patients.