Incidentally, experts are concerned that flu levels could be very high this winter and coronavirus cases could increase.
“The JCVI is advising that a booster dose be offered to the more vulnerable, to maximise individual protection ahead of an unpredictable winter”, said Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 Immunisation for the JCVI.
“Most of these people will also be eligible for the annual flu vaccine and we strongly advise them to take up this offer as well.”
Those living in residential care homes for older adults, those aged 50 years or over, and frontline health and social care workers are all eligible for the third dose.
In addition, everyone aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers and those who share a household with an immunosuppressed individual can also claim the jab.
Anyone who is part of these groups will receive a call or a text from their local GP or the National Booking Service, which will start issuing invitations from next week.
Only Pfizer and Moderna will be offered for the booster jab (depending on which you had for your first two jabs) and AstraZeneca will be offered in rare circumstances.
The JCVI announced on Tuesday: “Where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered, for example due to allergies, the AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received it previously.”
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“I would definitely want to encourage you to get your booster shot when you are invited to do that.”
The Covid booster is expected to be “co-administered” with the flu jab in some instances.
“With Covid booster shots, jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds, and the biggest ever flu campaign, daily vaccines could well exceed records hit previously,” Ruth Rankine, the director of primary care at the NHS Confederation told The Guardian.
Nadim Zahawi, former Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment told BBC Radio 4: “This is probably the last piece of the jigsaw to allow us to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic and I hope by next year we’ll be in a position to deal with this virus with an annual inoculation programme as we do with flu.”
Some people will be offered a flu jab before they become eligible for a Covid booster, but others may be given their flu jab and booster jab at the same time if it is practical.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is brilliant to see that the first booster jabs are being rolled out today – thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the NHS who continue to work tirelessly to help us fight COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable.”