Health Secretary suggests another Covid booster could be rolled out in the autumn

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested that another booster of the coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out in the autumn, as he said he expected experts to recommend an extra dose of the jab.

He said he would follow the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), but suggested the jabs would be offered before the end of the year.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston programme, he said: “When it comes to vaccinations I think we rightly take the advice of our clinicians.

“There’s a committee, it’s called the JCVI and we listen very carefully to what they’ve got to say.

“They look at the data very, very carefully and their latest advice as you say is that there should be a second boost – or let’s call it a fourth dose – but to focus on those over 75, those in care homes, those who are immunosuppressed.

“Now we will start that by the end of this month, that’s what we’ve said and we’re completely on track for that. But we listen to their advice all the time, should they come forward…”

But when pushed as to whether this would be widened to the general population – not just those who are considered vulnerable, he said: “I think at some point they will and they’ve actually been clear, and their most recent advice is that they think that towards the end of this year, maybe in the autumn, there will be a need to give a lot more people a boost, an offer of a boost, but I’ll wait for that advice.”

Last month Mr Javid said people in specific groups will receive a further dose in the coming weeks to help those at the highest risk of serious illness maintain a high level of protection against the virus.

Health services across the UK will offer people the jab from about six months after their last dose.

As of Wednesday, the Government said 516,289 had tested positive for Covid in the last seven days, a rise of 170,230 from the previous seven days.

In the same time period, 744 had died within 28 days of a positive test, this was down by 34.

The number of people in hospital with Covid over the last seven days had also risen, to 11,047, up by 1,912.

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