Can booster shots help Britain avoid another lockdown?

For weeks now, ministers have been getting increasingly frustrated by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s failure (JCVI) to back a wide-ranging programme of booster shots. Today it has finally recommended a third dose for everyone in clinical groups one to nine, which is, essentially, everyone over 50. Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has already accepted the recommendation and the programme will begin next week. Will this be enough to prevent the need for another lockdown? The booster programme should prevent the waning immunity problem, which was one of the reasons why Israel was hit by an unexpected fourth wave. The government is relying very heavily on boosters to avoid more restrictive

Why is Sturgeon hiding behind the JCVI?

For much of its 58-year long existence, the scientists who sat on the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) lived a life of happy obscurity. But now the poor men and women who make up its membership have been thrust into the limelight amid furious Whitehall rows over whether 12 to 15 year-olds should be given the Covid vaccine.  Members of Boris Johnson’s government are said to disagree with the JCVI’s rulings but have had their hands tied by the committee’s status as a statutory basis for giving advice in England and Wales – though intriguingly not Northern Ireland or Scotland. Judging by Nicola Sturgeon’s recent comments however, you would be forgiven for not

Why isn’t the vaccine approved for 12- to 15-year-olds?

This afternoon, the JCVI has essentially passed the buck on vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds. It has declared that the health benefits of a vaccine for this age group are ‘marginally greater’ than the risks of Covid. But it has left the decision on whether to actually vaccinate them to the chief medical officers. It would surely have been better for the committee to have made a decision one way or the other In the past few weeks, tensions between ministers and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have been rising. Ministers are keen to get on with an autumn booster shots campaign for the elderly and to vaccinate more school children.

Revealed: Robert Dingwall axed as government advisor

This week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which sets the UK’s vaccine policies, recommended that 16 and 17-year-olds be offered the Pfizer vaccine – leading to speculation that the jab could soon be offered to even younger age groups. Speaking at a press conference on the issue yesterday, the deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said his sense was that it is ‘more likely rather than less likely’ that the list of children eligible for the vaccine would broaden. It’s an interesting development given that just a fortnight ago the JCVI recommended against vaccinating over-12s unless they were particularly vulnerable to the disease. So Mr S was