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5 key questions answered on booster jabs as rollout stalls sparking Plan B fears

Mirror Health and Science Editor Martin Bagot answers five key questions about the rollout of booster jabs, why you need one and what is causing the drive to stall

UK does not have much ‘headroom’ for rising Covid cases – Neil Ferguson

As a key architect of lockdown warns of winter Covid measures, many Brits are being urged to get a booster jab.

SAGE member Prof Neil Ferguson warned “there may be a Plan B which needs to be implemented” as we head into winter, with infections already hitting around 50,000 a day this week.

This, Prof Ferguson said, would involve “some rolling back of measures” but not a full lockdown like UK saw in January.

But coronavirus vaccine injections have stalled, there is concern at rising infections and fears over a new Delta Plus variant.

So why do you need a booster jab, and what is holding up the rollout?

Have your say on the booster rollout in the comment section



Vaccinator Dr Mei Mei Till administers the flu jab to a woman at the vaccination centre in north London
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Image:

Dinendra Haria/LNP)




Here, Mirror Health and Science Editor Martin Bagot answers five key questions.

Q Why do I need to be given a booster jab?

A Studies show the protective immunity starts to wane substantially from around five months after the second dose.

King’s College London found that the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab against catching the virus fell from 77% to 67% at four to five months after a second dose.



Professor Neil Ferguson made the warning this week
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Image:

Internet Unknown)




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The drop off for the Pfizer jab was slightly less at 88% to 74%.

Effectiveness levels against serious illness are thought to last for a month or two longer. No vaccines offer 100% protection.

Q Do I need one if I’ve already had Covid-19?

A Yes. While having had Covid in combination with having been vaccinated is thought to boost the immune response, it is no guarantee you are protected. It is still possible to spread the virus and have symptoms which risk turning in to Long Covid.









Q When should I have a booster jab?

A The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended over-50s get a booster six months after their second dose. NHS invitations for most should arrive a matter of days after this milestone. Despite this, around a third of eligible over-80s are yet to have their top-up jab.

Q Can I have the flu jab at the same time ?

A Yes. If NHS supplies locally and your Covid dose interval allows it then you can one jab in each arm during the same appointment.



An empty vaccination centre in north London with just five bookings all day
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Image:

Dinendra Haria/LNP)




However the NHS has been instructed not to delay one jab so that both can be delivered together.

Because of this most Brits will have Covid boosters and flu jabs in separate appointments.

Q What is holding up rollout of booster jabs in the UK?

A A combination of factors.

Britain was later than most comparable countries in approving booster jabs so is playing catch up.







Vaccinations could be made more convenient for the public to have.

It is more complicated for the NHS to rollout booster jabs to a number of different groups while also administering jabs to school children.

People appear have become more complacent about the threat posed by Covid-19 and are less urgent in arranging booster appointments than they were for initial doses.


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