Britain to roll out booster vaccines to over-50s as part of winter Covid plan.

Britain will start rolling out booster coronavirus vaccines next week in an effort to keep case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths under control as winter approaches.

Everyone over-50 will be eligible for a booster shot, along with younger adults with underlying health conditions and frontline health and care workers.

The programme is the centrepiece of a plan to limit the spread of the virus, which also includes the vaccination of children aged 12 to 15 and a campaign to encourage those not yet vaccinated to come forward. People who are infected with the virus will continue to be required to self-isolate and some testing requirements for international travel will remain in place.

Prime minister Boris Johnson told a press conference in Downing Street that if these measures, which he described as Plan A, are not effective in keeping the virus under control, his government will move to Plan B, which could include the introduction of vaccine passports.

“It is just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option no-win we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping businesses open at full capacity or not,” he said.

“We will also keep open the option of mandating face coverings as they have elsewhere or advising people again to work from home reflecting the fact that when you’ve got a large proportion of the country as we have now with immunity, then smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence that we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past.”

Mr Johnson this week abandoned a plan to introduce vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and mass events from the end of this month. But chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said experience showed that it was necessary to move quickly if case numbers started to rise.

“If you look at, across the channel, countries where you’ve got similar levels of immunity and some higher degrees of restriction, what you can see is that the cases are going down. So we’re at that pivot point where things are flattish at the moment. If they go up quickly, then, as I said, you’ve got to go early in terms of getting on top of it. You can’t wait until it’s late because you have to do more,” he said.

The decision to introduce booster vaccination doses follows evidence that the protection offered by coronavirus vaccines wanes after a number of months, although they remain highly effective in preventing serious illness. Data from Israel has shown that an extra vaccine dose after six months can help to reduce hospitalisations.

Members of Sage, the British government’s panel of scientific experts, called for urgent action to prevent hospitalisations rising to between 2,000 and 7,000 next month, according to minutes of the group’s meetings.

They warned that the return of children to school and workers to offices could push up infection rates unless mandatory mask wearing and advice to work from home were brought back and vaccine passports were introduced.

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Embracing My Afro-Latina Roots ‘Helped Me Learn To Love Myself’.

Embracing My Afro-Latina Roots ‘Helped Me Learn To Love Myself’.

When New Yorker Ligia Cushman moved to the Deep South., she realized her community was not accepting of her Afro-Latina heritage, and as a result, neither was she. Cushman shares how she came to embrace her Dominican roots.» Subscribe to NBC News:...

R. Kelly’s executive assistant speaks out about sex trafficking charges

R. Kelly’s executive assistant speaks out about sex trafficking charges

Diana Copeland says she doesn’t think she did anything wrong and that she can only control her own actions.

'The Five' rips Biden as thousands of migrants shelter under Texas bridge.

'The Five' rips Biden as thousands of migrants shelter under Texas bridge.

Panel reacts to the latest on what's happening at the Texas-Mexico border #FoxNews #TheFive Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering...

Robert Durst Found Guilty Of Murder

Robert Durst Found Guilty Of Murder

Multimillionaire real estate heir Robert Durst, 78, was found guilty of first degree murder in the 2000 killing of Susan Berman. NBC News’ Emilie Ikeda reports.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of in...

France Recalls Ambassador To U.S. In Response To New Defense Agreement

France Recalls Ambassador To U.S. In Response To New Defense Agreement

France announced it is recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after it said its Indo-Pacific interests had been undermined by a new agreement made by the Biden administration on nuclear submarines.» Subscribe to NBC News: » W...

FDA Advisory Panel Votes Against Vaccine Booster For Most Americans.

FDA Advisory Panel Votes Against Vaccine Booster For Most Americans.

An FDA advisory committee overwhelmingly rejected a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine for most adults, but in an unexpected second vote authorized its use for those 65 and older and people at high risk of contracting severe Covid-19.» Subscribe to NB...