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COVID-19 update 19 November: Booster jabs and second doses for 16- and 17-year-olds

The latest guidance on COVID-19 for GP practices.

A healthcare worker administering the booster COVID-19 vaccine
(Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Booster jabs and second doses for 16- and 17-year-olds

COVID-19 booster jabs will be expanded to 40- 49-year-olds and people aged 16 and 17 will now be offered a second dose of vaccine, the government has confirmed.

The JCVI has recommended the booster campaign expand to cover adults aged between 40 and 49 years old.

People in this age range will be offered a booster jab six months after the date of their second dose. The booster will be an mRNA vaccine - either the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine - irrespective of the product used for the first two doses.

Meanwhile, people aged 16 and 17 years old who are not in at-risk groups should now be offered a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 12 weeks after their initial dose, the JCVI confirmed. By 7 November, just under two thirds of people in this age group had received a first dose of vaccine, according to NHS England data.

The JCVI said it was expanding the booster campaign because of evidence of waning protection in patients aged 40-49 against COVID-19.

Analysis by the UK Health Security agency shows that booster jabs increase protection against symptomatic COVID-19 infection to over 90%, with protection against more severe disease expected to be even higher.

The JCVI is continuing to monitor data on under 40s but says that at this stage there is 'no robust evidence of a decline in protection against severe COVID-19 (hospitalisation and deaths) in those aged under 40' - and that boosters in this group are not yet justified.

The National Booking System will allow 40-49-year-olds to book their vaccinations from 22 November.

Key guidance
The JCVI advice on the booster jabs is here and its advice on jabs for 16- and 17-year-olds is here. The Green Book chapter on COVID-19 vaccination has been updated to reflect the changes. NHS England guidance on what the changes mean for vaccination sites is here.

Booster jabs on COVID pass

The government has announced that booster jabs and third doses will be added to the NHS COVID pass for travel. For patients in England they will appear in the app version of the COVID pass for travel from midday on Friday 19 December.

However, they will not be available via the COVID pass letter service, but this will be updated in due course, the DHSC said.

Booster and third doses will not be added to the domestic COVID Pass as it is not a current requirement for individuals to receive booster doses to qualify as fully vaccinated, the government said.

Boosters will appear on the COVID pass in Wales from 29 November, however the government said evidence of a booster was not required to enter venues in Wales.

COVID-19 guidance tracker

Don't forget that our COVID-19 GP guidance tracker provides a list of guidance relevant to GP practices in an easy-to-search format. The tracker is regularly updated and you can find it here.

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