NHS gives FIRST Covid booster jabs as rollout begins

BRITAIN’S Covid booster rollout kicked off today with NHS heroes dishing out the first extra doses to health workers and high-risk groups.

Third jabs were meant to start next week but medics have hit the ground running in a bid to turbocharge immunity ahead of the winter.


NHS worker Catherine Cargill, at Croydon University Hospital in London, was one of the first Brits to get a vaccine booster todayCredit: PA

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is brilliant to see that the first booster jabs are being rolled out today thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the NHS.”

All over-50s, high-risk younger people and health and care staff will get an extra dose of the Pfizer vaccine six months after their second jab.

A study of a million people in Israel last night confirmed boosters slash the risk of infection and serious illness by up to 20 times.

And statistics show immunity is rising in younger people, too, and nine out of ten 16 to 25-year-olds now have antibodies against Covid.

An Office for National Statistics report found 88.9 per cent of people in the age group have virus-fighting antibodies, up from just 74 per cent at the start of July.

The figures will be welcomed by ministers who are relying on teenagers’ jabs and booster vaccines to stave off another crisis this winter and avoid lockdown.

Mr Javid added: “I urge everyone who is eligible to come forward for their booster when invited, to prolong the protection that the vaccine offers those most at risk as we approach the winter months.”

Researchers from the Israeli health ministry found cases of Covid were 11.3 times lower in over-60s who got a Pfizer booster vaccine, compared to double-jabbed people.

And rates of severe disease were 19.5 times lower from 12 weeks after the third dose.

Dr Peter English, a former boss at the British Medical Association, said: “These are spectacularly good results.

“If these findings apply equally in the UK, the risk of people who receive a booster dose being infected might drop from about a fifth, to a fiftieth of what it is in unvaccinated individuals.

“And the rates of severe infection could drop to about one per cent of what they are in unvaccinated individuals.”

Dr English pointed out the results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, might differ in the UK population because the first two doses are spaced further apart.

In the UK, the people who will be eligible for booster jabs include:

  • All over-50s
  • Clinically vulnerable 16 to 49-year-olds
  • All health and care workers and unpaid carers
  • Care home residents
  • People with very high risk household members

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s deputy chief of the vaccine rollout, added: “Alongside one of our busiest summers in the NHS, our hardworking staff have also been gearing up to deliver the autumn booster programme to give further protection to health and social care workers and those most at risk from the virus.

“Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from Covid – so please do come forward for this top-up of protection when you are invited.”

A man receives his booster jab in Croydon, South London, today. All over-50s will be eligible from six months after their second dose


A man receives his booster jab in Croydon, South London, today. All over-50s will be eligible from six months after their second doseCredit: PA
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