The number of people to be offered the Covid-19 booster jab in autumn 2023 has been scaled back.

The vaccine will be offered in England to those aged 65 and over, healthcare workers, and people living with certain health conditions following the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) through the UK booster programme.

The autumn roll out is significantly reduced from the number of boosters offered during the same period last year.

The autumn booster was offered to those aged 50 and over in 2022 but this year the eligibility criteria has been tightened so only those aged 65 and over will be offered the jab.

Health officials said that the larger group was offered the booster jab last year as part of the “emergency response” to the pandemic.

But the “success of these programmes has enabled us to live with Covid and, this year, we are able to scale back the number of people who require an autumn booster”, officials added.

Who is eligible for the autumn covid booster?

The Covid-19 jab is not available privately in the UK, so those who were offered the vaccine last year and are not eligible this year will not be able to purchase the jab themselves.

Those eligible for a vaccine on this year’s autumn booster programme include:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Care home residents
  • Those aged six months and older who are deemed to be “clinically at risk” with illnesses including severe asthma, diabetes and other chronic illnesses
  • People who are immunosuppressed – either through illness or treatment for cancer – and their household contacts aged 12 and over
  • Those aged over 16 who are carers

Oxford Mail: Adults aged 65 and over will be offered a covid booster in autumn 2023.Adults aged 65 and over will be offered a covid booster in autumn 2023. (Image: PA)

Additionally, the JCVI said adults who are yet to receive a Covid vaccine will be eligible to get a single jab during the autumn booster campaign.

When will the autumn Covid booster jabs be available?

An exact date as to when the autumn Covid-19 booster jabs will be available is yet to be announced.

However, the JCVI has advised the NHS should deliver the programme by early December to “optimise protection” over the winter months.

Chairman of Covid-19 immunisation on the JCVI, Professor Wei Shen Lim, said: “The autumn booster programme will continue to focus on those at greatest risk of getting seriously ill.

Oxford Mail: Are you are eligible for a covid booster this autumn?Are you are eligible for a covid booster this autumn? (Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

“It is important that everyone who is eligible takes up a booster this autumn – helping to prevent them from hospitalisations and deaths arising from the virus over the winter months.”

The JCVI sets out its recommendations on vaccinations for the whole of the UK and then it is up to each of the devolved nations to decide whether or not to take up the recommendations.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he had accepted the JCVI advice for the booster programme in England, adding: “NHS England will confirm details on how and when eligible people can access the autumn booster vaccine shortly, and I would urge anyone invited – including those yet to have their first jab – to come forward as soon as possible.”