LONDON, England: UK officials are expected to approve an autumn COVID-19 booster campaign aimed at people aged over 65 years old, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and all adults classified as at risk.
The country is currently offering spring booster shots to over-75s, care home residents and those who are immunocompromised.
British ministers have spoken openly of plans for an expanded booster campaign in the autumn.
In its interim advice, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) stopped short of recommending an additional booster shot for all adults, but added that its advice would be reviewed and updated.
In a statement, the UK Health Security Agency said, "The JCVI's current view is that in autumn 2022, a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to: Residents in a care home for older adults and staff; Frontline health and social care workers; All those 65 years of age and over; Adults aged 16 to 64 years who are in a clinical risk group."
Fiercely criticized for his handling of the early stages of the pandemic, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted COVID-19 restrictions in England in February, claiming the UK's rapid initial vaccine rollout and booster campaign broke the link between Covid cases and deaths.
The country's booster program is credited with ensuring that a surge in the highly transmissible Omicron variant and record case numbers did not overwhelm the National Health Service.
"We welcome the interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization for an Autumn Covid booster program and will consider their final recommendations later this year. We have asked the NHS in England to begin preparations to ensure they are ready to deploy Covid vaccines to those eligible," the health ministry said.