Young people aged 16 and 17 in England will able to get a COVID booster jab from Monday, it has been announced.
Around 40,000 teenagers will be eligible for their third dose when the national booking service opens at the start of the week as part of the latest phase of the UK’s vaccine programme.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said: “COVID has caused so much disruption for so many families over the past two years, affecting young people’s lives and education, and getting vaccinated protects them, their family and their friends, letting them stay at school and continue socialising.
“We know that the best protection against coronavirus is to get vaccinated and I’d urge everyone, whatever your age, to come forward and get that vital top-up as soon as it is possible.”
More than 600,000 people in the age group in England have already had their second jab, and so will be able to get boosted in the coming weeks as they reach three months after the second dose.
The NHS added invitations will be sent out this week encouraging people in the age group to book their appointment through the online booking service, or by finding their nearest walk-in site.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “More than four in five adults in England have already been boosted, helping to protect them from severe illness and reduce the pressure on the NHS in the face of Omicron.
“We’re now extending the programme to 16 and 17-year-olds so they can top-up their immunity this winter to keep themselves and their friends safe.
“We can learn to live with COVID if everybody comes forward for their vaccines and gets boosted now.”
However the NHS said that, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance, it cannot vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds within 12 weeks, or 84 days, of a positive COVID test.
Those aged 16 and 17 and considered at high risk from the coronavirus must wait four weeks, or 28 days, from the date of a positive COVID-19 test before getting any dose of the vaccine.