Exploring the Need for a Fresh COVID Shot: Insights from UK Pharmacists to Address Your Queries

credit: pharmaceutical-journal

UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – While the COVID-19 public health emergency is officially receding, the specter of COVID still looms. In fact, Lexington hospitals are observing a rise in COVID patients during this summer season.

As a new COVID vaccine prepares for release this upcoming fall, Jim Hallahan, Pharm.D., and Ryan Babb, Pharm.D., from the UK Pharmacist Care Clinic, address some of the inquiries you might have.

When Will The New Booster Shot be Accessible?

The development of the new booster is currently underway. Expected by the end of August, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to endorse it, with shots becoming accessible in late September or October.

Who Should Consider the New COVID Vaccine?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide recommendations on vaccine recipients once they grant approval.

How Will the New Vaccine Differ from The Current Options?

Analogous to the annual influenza (“flu”) vaccine, the new COVID vaccine will be customized for prevalent virus strains within the community. Aiming to establish comprehensive immunity among recipients, the autumn’s COVID vaccine will focus on the XBB.1.5 variant.

When will UK Retail Pharmacies Offer the New Vaccine?

Anticipate the availability of new booster vaccines shortly after FDA and CDC approvals, predicted to be in September or October.

If I’ve Been fully Vaccinated and have Already Received Required Boosters, is The New Vaccine Necessary?

The CDC is expected to recommend this new booster to all eligible individuals this autumn, regardless of their previous vaccine history. Formulated to counteract currently predominant virus strains, the new vaccine aims to enhance immunity and combat severe infection.

I’ve Recovered from COVID, Do I still Need Boosters?

Obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine after recuperating from the infection provides supplementary protection against reinfection. It’s suggested to delay your vaccine by three months from symptom onset or, if asymptomatic, from the positive test date.

If you’re currently infected with COVID, it’s advisable not to get vaccinated until your quarantine period concludes, preventing potential exposure to healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination process.

COVID-19 Booster Vaccines Set for Public Availability via Private Purchase Following Health Officials’ Approval

Health authorities have given the green light for private administration of COVID booster vaccines, paving the way for the general public to access them. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has expressed its approval for paid vaccinations, marking another stride towards integrating the management of the disease into regular routines.

In the near future, a substantial number of individuals not meeting the criteria for NHS-administered vaccines will have the opportunity to buy them directly on the High Street. This move has already piqued the interest of various pharmacies and clinics, signaling a forthcoming shift in access to COVID-19 protection.

Approximately 12 million fewer individuals will meet the criteria for an NHS-administered booster jab this autumn, as the minimum age for eligibility has been raised from 50 to 64. This adjustment creates a potential gap that could potentially be filled by privately obtained vaccines.

Authorities have cautioned, however, that private vaccinations are likely to come at a higher cost compared to the standard flu shot, which typically ranges from £15 to £20.

A spokesperson from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) expressed a welcoming stance toward this development, indicating that the responsibility rests with vaccine manufacturers to make these options available.

Read More: BNF Takes the Lead in Establishing Six Innovation Hubs to Tackle Diet-Related Health Challenges in the UK

Vaccine Supplier Moderna Is Developing Vaccines For Private Sectors 

One of the major vaccine suppliers, Moderna, stated that it is actively developing vaccines for the private sector, while emphasizing its continued dedication to supporting the NHS as a top priority.

Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, mentioned that the company anticipates pricing private vaccines at approximately $130 in the US, with the elevated cost being influenced by relatively lower demand.

Professor Adam Finn, associated with Bristol University, shared his personal viewpoint that paid vaccines could offer an alternative for individuals not covered under the current vaccination scheme but seeking additional protection.

The NHS’s reduced reimbursement to pharmacy leaders and travel vaccine providers for administering shots has spurred interest in the private sector.

Data from late July underscores a rise in COVID-19 rates, with hospitalizations increasing from 1.47 to 1.97 per 100,000 individuals in the preceding week.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.