The panel advising the UK government on COVID vaccinations on Monday announced the booster programme should be extended to all persons aged 40 and above.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the booster dose should be given six months after the second dose.
The existing UK guidelines specify booster doses, six months after the second dose, to people aged 50 and above or people who are vulnerable to COVID, in addition to frontline workers and health workers.
The JCVI said people should be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab as a booster, irrespective of which vaccine they received earlier.
The Guardian reported ministers “see the extension of boosters as a key element in efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID over the winter, with the number of booster jabs now picking up after a slow start”. The UK has administered 12.6 million booster doses to date.
Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden told Sky News, “If you get the booster when the call comes, that is the biggest wall of defence that we have against COVID. I am confident that if we stick the course, people take the boosters when they are asked to do so, that vaccine wall will hold up and we will be able to have a decent Christmas this year.”
The JCVI also advised that teenagers in the 16-17 age group should take the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.