A PENSIONER has become the first UK care home resident to have the coronavirus vaccine booster.
It comes as more than 30 million Brits are set to get a third jab in the coming weeks, as early as six months after their second dose.
Today great-grandmother Anne Webb, 85, was given the Covid-19 booster after an NHS medical team visited her care home.
Anne said: "I'm very excited to be the first – that was quite a surprise. It didn't hurt a bit."
Health chiefs at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board in Wales say it is first in the UK to begin giving booster vaccinations to older adults in care homes.
The mobile vaccination team called at Ty Ross Nursing Home in Treorchy, Rhondda, to give the booster to residents.
She was followed by fellow residents Peter Thomas and Doreen Davies to get the jabs from nurse Sharon Jones and retired GP Gail Nation.
As well as over 50s, over 16s with an underlying health condition, and health and social care workers will also be offered a booster.
The advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) also says giving a third Covid vaccine shot with a flu vaccine is safe.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said earlier this week: "The aim of the game is to stay on top of things."
At a Downing Street press conference, he said vaccines had been “incredibly successful” and had so far prevented an estimated 24 million Covid-19 cases and 112,000 deaths.
"But we also know that this pandemic is still active," Prof Van-Tam warned.
"We are not past the pandemic, we are in an active phase still."
He said "double jabs [Covid boosters and flu shot] can start now, subject to availability".
"This needs to start very quickly the NHS has been planning for it for quite some time, months," Prof Van-Tam said.
Scientists deem one additional dose of Pfizer as the most effective booster and preferred choice – regardless of what type of vaccine people had originally – based on current research.
Alternatively, a half dose of the Moderna vaccine – which uses the same technology as Pfizer (mRNA) – may also be given.
Experts say the antibody response against Covid is “very good” after a third shot.
But it’s not clear how much more protection it will give against severe Covid disease, given two doses are already more than 90 per cent effective, even against the Delta strain.
The move is part of the Government’s Covid winter plan for "living with the virus" through the next few months.
Controlling the fourth wave will be focused on driving up protection from vaccines, as opposed to using draconian lockdown-style measures.
Prof Van-Tam said if the uptake is good, it could have a "very substantial impact on keeping the lid on Covid cases and deaths and keeping pressure off the NHS".
"A high uptake of booster programme gives us a much better chance of a normal winter", he said.
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