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UK expands COVID booster dose campaign to those age 40-plus

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures with Arzou Miah, as he visits the Woodgrange GP Surgery vaccination center, in East London, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Jeremy Selwyn, Pool Photo via AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures with Arzou Miah, as he visits the Woodgrange GP Surgery vaccination center, in East London, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Jeremy Selwyn, Pool Photo via AP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns of a “blizzard” of new coronavirus infections coming into the UK from continental Europe, as his government extends the vaccine booster program to younger people in an effort to keep a lid on the pandemic during the winter months.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, the independent body of scientists that makes vaccine recommendations to the British government, says people aged 40 to 49 will also be eligible for a vaccine booster shot six months after their initial shot. Up until now, people aged 50 and over, as well as those deemed to be vulnerable in younger age groups, had been eligible for Pfizer or Moderna vaccine boosters.

The committee says that second doses of the Pfizer vaccine have also been approved for 16- and 17-year-olds 12 weeks after their first. It says the broadening of the booster campaign and the offer of a second shot to older teens will “help extend our protection into 2022.”

Johnson urges people to get their booster to get the extra level of protection amid growing concerns of the virus outlook in Europe following fresh lockdowns in Austria and the Netherlands.

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