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      Timilehin EburuTimilehin Eburu

      People over the age of 12 with severely weakened immune systems should have a third vaccine dose to top up protection against Covid-19, experts say.

      About 400,000 to 500,000 in the UK are eligible and will be contacted soon.

      They include those with blood cancer, advanced HIV and recent organ or stem-cell transplants.

      The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said a separate booster programme for other age groups was still being considered.

       

      Whether all 12- to 15-year-olds will be offered a vaccine is yet to be decided.

      ‘Best chance of protection’

      The advice means the most vulnerable – less than 1% of the population – will be offered a third dose, rather than all those on the original list of clinically extremely vulnerable people.

      It follows research showing about 40% of people with weakened immune systems had a low antibody response, and potentially less protection, after two vaccine doses.

      People with severe immunosuppression are also more likely to become seriously ill if they catch Covid-19.

      Prof Wei Shen Lim, who chairs Covid immunisation for the JCVI, said: “We want people with severely suppressed immune systems to have the best chance of gaining protection from Covid-19 via vaccination.

      “Therefore, we are advising they have a third vaccine dose on top of their initial two doses, as we hope this will reduce their risk of severe outcomes such as hospitalisation and death.”

      ‘I can return to normal life’

       

      Hal Cohen is taking powerful drugs after having a kidney transplant

      Hal Cohen, 40, from north London has been taking regular medication to stop his body rejecting a kidney donated by his father.

      But these vital drugs also blocked his immune system from developing protection against Covid from two vaccine doses.

      He is now looking forward to having a third dose.

      “It’s going to be really great for me, and will hopefully give me some vaccine protection and the ability to return to normal life.

      “But it’s not clear if the booster is going to work for people like me,” he said.

      “So we do need to carry on looking at other treatments too – to give us the best chance.”

      Source: BBC News

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