Plans for the Covid booster jab programme this autumn will be released over the next few weeks, the health secretary has announced.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning (21 June), Matt Hancock said that the Government is currently trialling different combinations of Covid vaccines to find out which is most effective at providing protection against the virus.

‘When we know the results of that, then we will set out the full plans for the booster programme over the autumn,’ the health secretary explained.

He said this is likely to happen in ‘the next few weeks.’

He also went on to discuss the logistics of delivering the vaccine in the long term, as many people currently helping vaccinate the population will have to return to work. ‘GPs are heavily involved in this vaccination effort, but GPs also have to do their day jobs,’ he said.

This comes as peer-reviewed research by Aston University suggested that community pharmacies could be key players in an annual rollout of the vaccine.

Speaking to The Pharmacist earlier this year, Dr Ian Maidment, the lead researcher of the study – ‘A rapid realist review of community pharmacy support for the public health agenda during the Covid-19 pandemic and future health emergencies’ – explained that although it may be easier to vaccinate people in mass vaccination centres ‘at the moment’, this may not be a sustainable long-term method.

Preliminary plans for the programme were published by the Government in February.

Although the plan did not detail who would be eligible for the annual vaccine, it did say the vaccine would ‘likely to consist of a single ‘booster’ dose’.

Last week, The Pharmacist reported that there had been an increase in the number of people from younger cohorts fainting after receiving their Covid vaccine, which some vaccinators attributed to anxiety.

So far, nearly 60% of all UK adults have had two doses of the vaccine, with almost 82% having received one.