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Covid booster: Why self isolation changes mean you might need a fourth vaccine

Coronavirus isolation rule changes criticised by Dr Nagpaul

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The last remaining Government-backed restrictions on coronavirus are to be scrapped in the UK, including the legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive Covid test, and access to free coronavirus tests. However, the Government is still encouraging those eligible to come and get vaccinated, as well as offering a fourth booster to many at-risk groups – when will you be invited for your fourth jab?

Britons aged over 75, as well as those in other vulnerable categories, will be offered a fourth booster Covid vaccine, Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday in a statement to the House of Commons.

As part of the Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ strategy, the last of the UK’s Covid restrictions will be scrapped, although individuals are still being encouraged to be cautious.

The legal requirement for self-isolation after a positive Covid test will no longer apply, but individuals will still be encouraged to stay at home if they have Covid.

The Government will also no longer provide free Covid tests to swathes of the general population, with Britons having to purchase their own tests from retailers.

While most people will see their Government-provided precautions against Covid being tapered out, one big exception is vaccinations.

Much of Boris Johnson’s statement to the House of Commons reflected his reasoning that it was due to the success of the vaccine rollout in Britain that easing of restrictions is now possible.

A follow-up statement from the Prime Minister’s office said: “Vaccines will remain the first line of defence against COVID-19 as the Prime Minister sets out the Government’s plans to live with and manage the virus.

“Over 31 million boosters have been administered across England, and almost 38 million UK wide, helping break the link between infections and hospitalisations.”

As such, the Government are offering extra vaccinations to vulnerable people, and continuing to encourage anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated yet to get their jabs.

A fourth vaccine will be offered to people in vulnerable categories to boost their protection, following advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, there is still time to choose to get vaccinated and get your jab done for free on the NHS.

If you’ve had one vaccine, you are still being encouraged to get your second and third jabs, and if you’re double-vaccinated you are encouraged to get your booster jab too.

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Who qualifies for a fourth booster vaccine?

From Spring 2022 – an exact date has not been shared yet – fourth booster jabs will be offered to:

  • People aged 75 years and over
  • Residents in care homes for older adults
  • People aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed

In a statement, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Following the JCVI’s advice, I have asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine from around six months after their last dose and they will set out further details in due course.

“We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane over time.

“That’s why we’re offering a spring booster to those people at higher risk of serious COVID-19 to make sure they maintain a high level of protection.

“It’s important that everyone gets their top-up jabs as soon as they’re eligible.”

Mr Javid did not rule out more vaccines might be offered to these vulnerable groups or larger groups of the population in months to come.

He added: “The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to further at-risk groups.”

The JCVI’s statement looks towards Autumn 2022 as a possible date when at-risk groups could be offered a fifth jab, due to the seasonal peaks we’ve witnessed with coronavirus.

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