The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has reportedly announced that people with suppressed immune systems would be offered a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, this announcement is unrelated to the booster program that is slated to begin in Wales.
The dose would be administered to people suffering from underlying conditions, such as leukemia and HIV, or have recently undergone organ transplants, who are over the age of 12, reports suggest.
The committee stated that the section of the population that has immunosuppressing conditions may not have developed a full immune response to the virus, leaving them more susceptible to the virus compared to the rest.
The JCVI also noted that ongoing studies to examine the efficacy of the third dose for this section of the population have indicated that it can be safely administered to boost protection as it is unlikely to cause any harm.
Eluned Morgan, Wales’ Health Minister, stated that the health boards would work promptly to identify and contact those who would be eligible for the jab. She further added that the timing of the third dose would be critical for certain patients, which their specialist clinicians would determine.
Morgan seemingly urged people who have not taken the vaccine to take the first dose before the onset of the booster campaign as the COVID-19 vaccine remains the best possible strategy to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Pfizer vaccine is preferred for children belonging to the 12-17 age group in this category while children aged 18 and above would receive either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, claim reliable sources. Evidently, both Pfizer and Moderna jabs are mRNA vaccines and virtually all evidence on the third dose to date has been based on this type of vaccine.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI’s COVID-19 Immunization Committee, reportedly said that administering the third dose of the vaccine to those with severely weakened immune systems would grant them the best chance at staying protected.
It is worth noting that no decision has been made about including healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in the immunization program.