Over 75s and vulnerable to be offered second booster jab

North Devon Gazette

Vulnerable people in Devon will soon be offered their second covid booster jab – making it their fourth.Â

The programme for people aged over 75 and the clinically vulnerable starts ‘very shortly’, Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said this week.Â

“It tends to be around six months after your initial booster. And we’ll use the national booking service in order to provide that,” he told a Team Devon meeting of local leaders.

Dr Johnson also revealed that the NHS was also about to start offering five-to-11-year-olds a jab.Â

Latest figures show the number of people aged over 12 who have received their booster vaccination is 71 per cent in the Devon County Council area, 66 per cent in Torbay and 61 per cent in Plymouth.Â

Research from UK Health Security Agency reveals that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 157,000 hospitalisations across the UK since mid-December.Â

Speaking at this week’s meeting, Dr Johnson said the booster programme is helping to reduce the number of people who are becoming seriously ill with the virus, despite a recent rise in covid infections and hospitalisations.Â

He explained that although the number of people in hospital with covid had risen to more than 230 across Devon’s hospitals, very few need intensive care treatment.Â

“At the height of the pandemic, it was about 10 per cent needing intensive care, whereas at the moment we only have four in our intensive care units,” Dr Johnson said.Â

“So, the good news is that this particular variant doesn’t seem to be having the impact [in making people seriously ill] and it’s also testament to the effectiveness of the booster vaccine and the number of people within Devon who have actually got that booster.”Â