Ministers are preparing to offer Covid booster jabs to all over-50s this autumn rather than limit them to over-65s as advisers suggested.
Provisional guidance issued last month recommended restricting doses to care-home residents, the over-65s, frontline health and social workers and vulnerable young people.
But Health Secretary Sajid Javid has asked his team to ‘be ready for it to be over-50s’.
He told the Financial Times: ‘That doesn’t mean to say it’s going to be over-50s… but I always want to be prepared – just in case the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation broadens the cohort.’
Provisional guidance issued last month recommended restricting doses to care-home residents, the over-65s, frontline health and social workers and vulnerable young people
His comments come as new Omicron variants sweep across Europe and the number of people in hospital with Covid continue to rise – although levels remain well below the peaks reached in previous waves.
Some 6,177 patients in England had Covid on June 22, up 28 per cent on last week.
Nearly one in six people over 75 have not received a vaccine in the past six months, putting them more at risk of severe disease, officials have warned.
Some public health experts called for all adults to be given another jab, however Mr Javid said this was ‘highly unlikely’.
University of Edinburgh public health professor Devi Sridhar said the vaccine should be extended to reduce the economic, educational and social cost of the disease in young people.
She said autumn infections were more concerning than the current wave.