Health Secretary Sajid Javid has reportedly told the NHS to allow people over 50 to book their third jab a month earlier so that they can have the booster vaccine after six months
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Brits in their millions are to be given their Covid boosters a month earlier due to fears of a winter spike in infections as the vaccine programme stutters, according to reports.
Now people over 50 are expected to be able to book their third jab in advance after instructions from Health Secretary Sajid Javid to the NHS.
Currently people are able to book a booster jab six months after their second dose and that could mean waiting two or three weeks more, with the average an 18 day wait for an appointment.
This delay is believed to be an important reason why only around 4.5 million of 9.3 million eligible in England have had the booster.
The new plan, which government sources have told the Mail on Sunday will be put in place as quickly as possible, will see people over 50 able to book their appointment in advance, so they can have the booster immediately after six months.
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Mr Javid is also reportedly planning to make Covid vaccines compulsory for all NHS workers.
There is worry over the current surge in infections and hope that a quicker rollout of the booster jab could stave this off.
Still there is no plan to reduce the wait from six months as this is considered to be the best moment when the booster will have most impact.
There also remains concern that the rollout among 12- to 15-year-olds has not been quicker and, according to analysis from The Mail, if the current trend continues then only a third of this group will have had a jab by the start of December.
So far the delivery of booster jabs for over 50s has been a lot slower than when the first vaccines were given out to these age groups.
And there are reportedly no plans to give the booster to people under 50 until a larger number of people in their 50s or over have had the jab – which means it could be into next year.
There is plenty of fear that the rising cases will mean a new lockdown will have to be called for this winter which Boris Johnson has so far said is “not on the cards”.
The pressure will be on though with Javid having warned that the increase in infections could lead to them hitting the 100,000 a day rate in the coming months.