Coronavirus: adults aged 40-49 will be next in line for Covid vaccine across UK | World news | The Guardian

by health and nutrition advice journalist

Adults over the age of 40 have been prioritised as the first group to be vaccinated once all at-risk groups in phase 1 have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

Vaccination will then proceed down the age groups, with all those aged 30-39 the next in line, followed by everyone aged 18-29.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) explained that the evidence suggested an age-based approach was the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from Covid-19. After groups 1-9 in phase 1, people aged 40-49 are at highest risk of hospital admission, with the risk reducing the younger you are.

The decision will come as a blow to unions, which have argued that those working in frontline roles such as teaching and the police should be prioritised in the next stage of the rollout, after older groups and the clinically vulnerable. Equality groups have also called for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to be prioritised, as they are more likely to die from coronavirus.

The committee said mass vaccination targeting occupational groups would be more complex to deliver and might slow down the vaccine programme, leaving some more vulnerable people at higher risk unvaccinated for longer. Modelling studies have indicated that speed of vaccine deployment is the most important factor in maximising public health benefits against severe outcomes, they said.

“The age-based approach will ensure more people are protected more quickly. It is crucial that those at higher risk – including men and BAME communities – are encouraged to take the vaccine, and that local health systems are fully engaged and reaching out to underserved communities to ensure they can access the vaccine,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE).

Prof Wei Shen Lim, the Covid-19 chair for JCVI, added: “Vaccinations stop people from dying and the current strategy is to prioritise those who are more likely to have severe outcomes and die from Covid-19.

“The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age. The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure.”

A UK government spokesperson noted the JCVI’s decision, adding: “All four parts of the UK will follow the recommended approach, subject to the final advice given by the independent expert committee. The UK government remains on course to meet its target to offer a vaccine to all those in the phase 1 priority groups by mid-April, and all adults by the end of July.”

This content was originally published here.

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