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COVID-19 booster jab trial underway ahead Sept vaccine drive

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THE United States Health Secretary, Matt Hancock says  COVID-19 booster jab programme is being trialled ahead of a further vaccine drive in September.

  Matt Hancock who disclosed this in a BBC Breakfast programme  said the US government was currently working on which combinations of jabs are the most effective”.

  “We do need to (look) into what the programme looks like for an endemic condition, when we’re outside the crisis mode that we’ve been in the last six months.

  “We do need to know, first of all, whether a booster vaccination programme is needed? Who will need it? We need to know where it will be given and by whom.

 According to him, while second jabs offer very strong protection, there could be more protection that can be gotten from a booster jab.

  “When we know the results of that, then we will set out the full plans for the booster programme arround September.

  We’ve got to make sure we get the logistics right; for instance, GPs have been so heavily involved in this vaccination effort, but GPs have also got to do their day job, so that’s something we’re working hard on now”

  He added that in the next few weeks, when clinical data on what is the most effective combinations to have is gotten they will set out all the details of the booster programme for the September.

  “In general practice, for example, where three-quarters of the vaccines have been given, our GPs and nurses are exceptionally busy. Is it possible that a booster campaign can be given by non-clinical trained vaccination staff?”

  He noted that general practices administer large flu campaigns in the winter and asked whether it would be possible to give a COVID-19 jab at the same time as clearly that would be a very efficient process.

  The Royal College of GPs’ Council chairman, Professor Martin Marshall suggested booster campaigns might be conducted by non-clinical, trained staff to free up time for doctors and nurses.

  Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Professor Anthony Harnden, said decisions about future COVID-19 vaccine booster campaigns would be data-driven but would consider the need for planning within the NHS.

  “The most key questions are how long do these vaccines last? what is the duration of protection?”

  He added, “Whether we can mix vaccine schedules is important and the government have commissioned a study which will be reporting on mixing the schedules of seven different vaccines, AstraZeneca; Pfizer,  Moderna; Novavax, Janssen, CuraVac and Valneva.”

  He emphasised that any booster campaign would need to think about who it would target.

  “Those that received the vaccine furthest away, when we started in December last year and January, were the very elderly and vulnerable, and, of course, it will be many months since they’d have their vaccine, so we do need to think about whether we need to boost those particular age groups,” Professor Harnden said.

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