FACT CHECK: Did The UK Ban COVID-19 Boosters For People Under 50?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the U.K. has banned COVID-19 boosters for people under 50.

Verdict: Misleading

While the government’s booster campaign is ending, it is not banning COVID-19 boosters for people under 50. Individuals can still receive a booster if recommended by a medical professional.

Fact Check:

The U.K. was the first government to issue authorization for COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, according to CNN. Since then, nearly 150 million vaccine doses, including boosters, have been administered, with approximately 88 percent of those 12 years or older receiving at least two shots, according to data from the U.K. government.

Social media users have been sharing claims that the U.K. banned COVID-19 vaccine boosters for individuals under the age of 50. One Instagram post reads, “U.K. becomes latest country to ban COVID boosters for under-50s.”

The government, though, did not make any such announcement. In the Jan. 25 press release, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) stated it was ending the autumn booster campaign and advised that the “2021 booster offer (third dose) for persons aged 16 to 49 years who are not in a clinical risk group should close in alignment with the close of the autumn 2022 booster vaccination campaign.”

The winter booster campaign is advertised to be “a more targeted offer during vaccination campaigns to protect those persons at higher risk of severe COVID-19,” according to the Jan. 25 press release. The release encourages those in the group to get vaccinated before the offer ends Feb. 12.

“No, it’s not banned boosters,” Shaun Whelan, the communications manager for the UKHSA, told Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Did The UK Ban The COVID-19 Vaccine Due To Health Concerns?)

“JCVI advised yesterday on an Autumn booster campaign; a first booster (3rd dose) is still available for all up to Feb 12th and will continue to be available for anyone with a clinical need (at higher risk of severe illness etc),” Whelan expanded. “JCVI has advised and Gov accepted that there will be an Autumn booster campaign starting in sept for those at higher risk; and there may also be a spring booster, to be confirmed soon, for those at greatest risk such as older people and immunosuppressed.”

After the booster campaign ends, individuals under the age of 50 will be able to get the COVID-19 booster if recommended by a medical professional, according to The Telegraph.

There is no mention of a ban on COVID-19 boosters in articles about the announcement in Reuters, The Independent or other U.K. media outlets like the Mirror and Daily Mail.

Misinformation around COVID-19 boosters is not new. Check Your Fact debunked the claim that Denmark banned COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 18.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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