ALL over-50s will be offered a booster jab by Christmas as part of a Covid winter plan, PM Boris Johnson will announce today.
Ministers have also approved the offer of single jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds, triggering a row over consent.
The decision to give boosters to over-50s ends months of deliberation by experts
The PM, pictured visiting British Gas Academy on Monday, is expected to announce the decision on Tuesday
They hope the additional kids’ rollout will slash transmission rates in schools and prevent any further closures in the colder months ahead.
Chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said last night it will “reduce” the risks of shutting classes in the event of a surge in cases, but will “not eliminate” the possibility.
He added: “We think it’s an important and useful additional tool to reduce the public health impacts that come through educational disruption.”
Currently only over-16s are being jabbed but there has been widespread pressure to extend the rollout.
Meanwhile, the decision to give boosters to over-50s ends months of deliberation by experts.
Scientists deemed one additional dose of Pfizer is the most effective booster — regardless of what people had in their two shots.
The Covid winter plan, which attempts to avoid another national lockdown, will be published today.
Mr Johnson said ahead of its launch: “The pandemic is far from over.
“But thanks to our phenomenal vaccine programme, new treatments and testing we are able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms.
“Today I will set out a clear plan for the autumn and winter, when the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made.”
Prof Whitty added: “Anybody who believes the big risk of Covid is all in the past . . . has not understood where we are going to head as we go into autumn and winter, where there will continue to be challenges and pressure on the NHS.”
For older Brits the booster rollout will begin within days, starting with the over-80s and the clinically vulnerable.
Prof Whitty insisted there was enough Pfizer to go around for old and young. There were also “no plans” yet to jab the under-12s.