At risk children and carers in line for autumn Covid booster

3 mins read

Thursday 10 August 2023

Tags: Covid-19 booster, Covid vaccine, Autumn 2023 booster

Clinically vulnerable children and carers in the UK will be offered the Covid vaccine booster this autumn.

People aged 12-64 who are ‘household contacts’ of people with weakened immune systems will also be offered the booster.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the programme is completed by early December 2023.

Public health experts expect Covid to circulate more widely over the winter with clinically vulnerable people most at risk of getting seriously ill from the virus.

Eligibility: who counts as a carer and who is considered clinically vulnerable?

People eligible for the booster this autumn include:

Family carers can get an autumn booster if they are eligible for Carer’s Allowance or if they are aged 16+ and are sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person at increased risk of dying if they get Covid (and therefore are clinically vulnerable).

Clinical risk groups for children under 16 include those with:

  • Chronic respiratory diseases
  • Chronic heart conditions
  • Chronic conditions of the kidney, liver or digestive system
  • Chronic neurological disease (including those with a neuro-disability and/or neuromuscular disease that may occur as a result of cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy or muscular dystrophy; those with Down’s syndrome; or those with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities, including everyone on the Learning Disability Register)
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Immunosuppression
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
  • Serious genetic abnormalities that affect a number of systems
  • Pregnancy

A full list of clinical groups and definitions is available in Tables 3 and 4 of the Covid-19 chapter of UK Health and Safety Agency’s Green Book.

When will jab appointments start?

NHS England, NHS Wales and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland are yet to confirm when or how eligible people can access an appointment, but the JCVI has recommended delivering the booster programme by early December.

In Scotland, appointments are due to start from 18 September beginning with those aged 65+ or aged 12-64 in a clinical risk group. People should wait for NHS Scotland to contact them with more details. Where possible, the Covid vaccine will be administered alongside the flu jab.

Find out more on our Covid-19 vaccines questions and answers web page.