The timing of the Covid booster vaccine is ‘more important than the type’

The timing of the Covid booster vaccine is ‘more important than the type’

The timing of your coronavirus vaccine is more important than the type of vaccine you receive, the JCVI vice president said.

Professor Anthony Harnden told the BBC they shouldn’t worry about which vaccine they get, as those eligible for the autumn booster program “wouldn’t get second rate vaccines”, adding: “they are all very good vaccines”.

His statement comes after it was announced on Monday that Britain’s autumn covid vaccination campaign will use a new omicron-specific injection as its default, after the country became the first in the world to license a variant vaccine.

The next stage of the rollout will invite 26 million people to receive a new booster dose, starting in September, with those over 50, healthcare workers and the vulnerable all eligible.

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) officials on Monday licensed Moderna’s bivalent vaccine, which combines the original form of the Covid vaccine with a version adapted for omicron, currently the dominant strain.

“The opportunity is much more important than the type of vaccine”

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Harnden said: “Timeliness is far more important than the type of vaccination we believe in, although we welcome this MHRA-approved bivalent vaccine.

“For now, we say get vaccinated and don’t worry too much about the type of vaccine.

“There may be other vaccines in the works, I think Pfizer is developing a bivalent vaccine that we will look at JCVI very carefully if it is approved.

“And of course the government may order, or may have ordered, more bivalent Moderna vaccines so that there is a pool of vaccines that are available to use.”

Modern jab ‘extends immunity’

Maggie Throup, the vaccines minister, told LBC that Moderna’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccine “amplifies immunity”.

“It has two parts: it will provide immunity against the original variant and against the omicron variant, so it broadens our immunity,” he said.

“It gives us a better opportunity to cover all the aspects of Covid that we have at the moment and hopefully help prevent infections, hospitalizations requiring intensive care and hopefully deaths as well.

“So that’s really good news. Let’s say we’ll implement it as part of the fall booster schedule.

“We’re going to start rolling it out in early September, and like other programs, we’ll start with those most at risk first, meaning the elderly and those with certain clinical conditions.”

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