The government group said the United Kingdom would benefit from starting preparations for the fall Covid-19 vaccination campaign, reflecting health officials’ concerns that the coronavirus will continue to pose a threat.
The vaccination program is reducing the number of severe illnesses across the country, the chairman of the Covid vaccination committee said on Wednesday.
“That is why we have recommended scheduling additional booster vaccines for those at increased risk of serious illness as part of the fall booster program,” said Wei Shen Lim of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunization.
The UK Health Safety Agency added that if another variant of concern, biologically distinct from Omicron and with significant clinical impact, emerges, an “urgent vaccination response” may be required.
Jenny Harris, head of the agency, recently told the Financial Times that Covid will continue to “taunt us” for years to come, echoing the broader consensus in the scientific community that the coronavirus could still lead to health care disarray.
However, since Omicron came out in late 2021, the virus has remained relatively stable, even as it has evolved.
Compared with previous options, Omicron causes a less severe course of the disease. In addition, high rates of immunity worldwide, whether from vaccination, past infection, or both, have helped reduce the impact of new waves of infection on health systems.
The commission said a small group, namely the elderly or immunocompromised, should receive an extra dose of the vaccine in the spring.