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UK panel recommends COVID-19 booster shots for over-50s

A Magen David Adom paramedic administers a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to an Israeli man, on August 24, 2021, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
A Magen David Adom paramedic administers a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to an Israeli man, on August 24, 2021, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

LONDON (AP) — An expert advisory panel recommends that the UK government offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over age 50 to protect against waning protection this winter.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization’s recommendation came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to announce the government’s new plan for combating the pandemic. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy nations to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their populations.

The JCVI says booster shots are needed to ensure vulnerable people are protected against COVID-19, because studies have shown that the immunity conferred by vaccines weakens over time. The panel recommends that people over 50 get a booster shot six months after they received their second dose of vaccine.

Israel began rolling out booster shots to those over 60 on August 1, and has since made them available to the entire population.

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