COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 112,000 lives and averted 24 million cases of the disease, British officials said on Tuesday as they recommended all vulnerable people, frontline health staff and those aged over 50 be offered a booster shot.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s recommendation of a third dose six months after a second shot, paves the way for a broad revaccination programme in Britain, which has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19.
It comes ahead of an announcement by the government on its strategy for taming infections this winter, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other officials warning that the battle against the virus was not over.
“Our latest estimates are that since we began deploying these vaccines, they’ve probably averted in the region of 24 million cases of COVID in the UK and 112,000 deaths – so incredibly successful to date and remains so,” England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam told reporters.
“We’re not past the pandemic. We know this winter could quite possibly be bumpy at times.”