Figures show that around 3 months after they received the third jab, protection against hospitalisation among those aged 65 and over remains at about 90%.

With just 2 vaccine doses, protection against severe disease drops to around 70% after 3 months and to 50% after 6 months.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has taken this latest evidence into account in their ongoing review of the booster programme.

The Committee advises that at this present time:

  • there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, or fourth jab, to the most vulnerable (care home residents and those aged over 80) – the timing and need for further booster doses will continue to be reviewed as the data evolves
  • priority should continue to be given to rolling out first booster doses to all age groups
  • unvaccinated individuals should come forward for their first 2 doses as soon as possible

Professor Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s chair of COVID-19 immunisation, said:

The current data shows the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups. For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.

The data is highly encouraging and emphasises the value of a booster jab. With Omicron continuing to spread widely, I encourage everyone to come forward for their booster dose, or if unvaccinated, for their first 2 doses, to increase their protection against serious illness.

The latest study looked at booster doses in those aged over 65, who were among the first to be eligible when the booster rollout began in mid-September.

Whilst with a booster dose, the duration of protection against severe disease remains high, protection against mild symptomatic infection is more short-lived and drops to around 30% by about 3 months.

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    Boosters continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease from Omicron in older adults

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