Over-75s in the UK will be able to book their spring Covid booster shot from Monday. The roll out of the fourth dose—six months after the third—comes after a rise in cases and hospital admissions.
Letters and texts will go out to approximately 200,000 over-75s, care home residents, and people with vulnerable immune systems who are eligible for the top-up.
A resurgence of Covid in the UK
The roll-out follows figures that show there has been a resurgence of Covid across the UK. Cases have increased 52% in the past week with 70,000 testing positive daily, on average. In that time, hospital admissions have also risen a fifth and are increasing among older age groups.
On Tuesday there was a surge with 91,345 cases. For the first time in five weeks, hospital patient numbers in England exceeded 11,000.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said an increase in cases was to be anticipated following England’s February 24 Freedom Day when Covid restrictions were removed.
But experts have expressed concerns that this is an early sign of waning immunity, six months on from the third booster shot.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate death rates have been increasing even among vaccinated and boosted groups.
An NHS source said:
We’re seeing cases increasing among the elderly and it’s right that we crack on with the booster roll-out.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has demanded ‘more oomph on fourth jabs’.
The NHS said it is following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's advice to make the top-up available six months after the first booster.
Plans have not yet been announced to give a fourth shot to over-50s who had their booster last October.