Booster programme for care homes begins in Scotland as 12 to 15-year-olds invited for jabs

Scotland’s rollout of Covid booster vaccinations for elderly care home residents is to get under way, while children aged 12 to 15 will be offered their first coronavirus jab.

The Scottish Government has confirmed older residents in care homes are the first to be offered both flu and coronavirus booster vaccines from Monday, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Vaccination clinics will also be open to children and young people aged 12 to 15 from Monday if they wish to get their jab before they receive a scheduled appointment letter.

Frontline health and social care workers will able to book an appointment for a booster jab online at NHS Inform from Tuesday this week.

Adults aged 70 and over and those aged 16 and over who are on the highest risk list (previously known as the shielding list) will begin to be contacted by letter or by their GP from the end of September.

People on the highest risk list who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their last Covid vaccination will be offered a third primary dose instead.

The Scottish Government confirmed other eligible groups – including all those aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions, adult carers, unpaid and young carers, adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals and all adults over 50 – will be able to book an appointment online from October.

Heath Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased to see the booster programme getting under way for residents in care homes for older people, offering longer lasting protection against severe Covid-19 illness.”

He added: “We are also starting vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds after Scottish ministers accepted advice from the four UK chief medical officers.

“This group can now head to drop-in clinics for their jabs or wait for a letter offering them a scheduled appointment.”

The booster vaccines will be offered to millions of people across the UK from Monday, alongside annual flu jabs.

Scientists behind the CovBoost trial said that there was a “boost” in antibody levels generated among people who had a third dose in the clinical trial.

The study, which informed the JCVI’s decision for the booster programme, is due to report its findings publicly in early October.

Three vaccines have been approved as safe and effective as boosters, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, but experts have decided to opt for Pfizer as a preference after studies showed it is well tolerated and works well as a booster.

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