Come September, the United Kingdom will roll out the COVID-19 booster shot for nearly 32 million Britons, The Telegraph reported. Around 2,000 pharmacies have been roped in to deliver doses for the drive that will cover adults above 50 years and people who are immunosuppressed.
Recently, Israel became the first country to offer a third booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to citizens over 60 years in an effort to keep the Delta variant at bay.
Amid concerns about the declining efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the British government decided to go ahead with the booster shot. They plan to administer around 2.5 million doses per week from the first week of September, The Telegraph report added.
The drive is expected to start from September 6 and finish by early December. It will be led by the pharmacies so that the general practitioners and the UK National Health Service (NHS) can focus on patients with other ailments.
A government source told The Telegraph that the decision was made after final advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation; and the results of the trials involving COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
The booster shot will be different from the previous two jabs. The move was considered after early trials suggested that mixing vaccines could trigger an enhanced immune response.
Britain so far has four approved vaccines -- Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen. As of now, seven vaccines are in different stages of trial and, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax have shown positive results.
Meanwhile in India, last week the subject expert committee (SEC) on COVID-19 approved vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s plan to experiment a mixed-dosing of two of its vaccines -- the intramuscularly administered Covaxin and a nasal inoculation based on a different vector.
The SEC also approved another mixed-dose trial for Covaxin and Covishield, two of the vaccines already in use in India. This will be carried out by a team from the Christian Medical College, Vellore.
After the SEC makes its recommendations, the final approval is given by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)