Covid: over-50s 'to be given third vaccine top-up by winter' to prevent new wave

Third jab in the arm by Christmas hopes to prevent a third wave swooping across UK during Winter

A third Covid vaccine booster will be given to adults over-50 from autumn, in a bid to stop a new wave from emerging.

It’s understood adults will have a third vaccine of a pre-approved shot in the arm, or a specifically modifed jab against new variants to eradicate new Covid threats before Christmas.

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That’s according to The Times which reports the two trials are being overseen by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England.

Adults over-50 will need to take part in a Covid booster programme, according to a report by The Times. (Jane Barlow - Pool/Getty)

As well as adults aged 50 and over, the jab will also be given to those with underlying health conditions at a similar time of year to the annual flu jab.

It’s understood the vaccine will be administered in the opposite arm.

‘No booster shot for young people’

A senior government minister told the newspaper: “We will have a lot to say about the booster programme soon. It’s looking really positive so far.

A third vaccination will be offered to over-50s by autumn to try and eradicate the threat of Covid by Christmas. (Gareth Fuller - WPA / Getty)

“We think that the level of protection in the population to any variant will be so high that by Christmas, Covid-19 should have just faded away into the background like any other illness in circulation.

"So much so that we don’t think there will be any need to give a booster shot to younger people because transmission will have got so low.”

The vaccines so-far in use in the UK are Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Early findings from the trial have reportedly delivered positive results and might nullify any threat from new and existing strains of Covid.

State-of-the-art labs

It comes as the government has also announced state-of-the-art laboratories to test existing and new vaccines against variants of concern.

The £29.3 million investment will help scientists test 2,700 more variant samples per week – more than quadruple the current number.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said testing facilities at Porton Down will help stay “one step ahead” of Covid.

Mr Hancock said: “We’ve backed UK science from the very start of this pandemic and this multi-million pound funding for a state-of-the-art vaccine testing facility at Porton Down will enable us to further future-proof the country from the threat of new variants.”

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