On 26 November 2021 WHO designated the COVID variant B.1.1.529 a “variant of concern”, named Omicron (WHO update on omicron 28 Nov 2021). In response to the emergence of this variant the JCVI has expedited and reviewed its advice for the UK vaccine response (JCVI advice for omicron 29 Nov 2021). The Green Book recommendations have been updated (Green book information on vaccines 30 Nov 21).
The JCVI’s stated intention with the measures advised below is to accelerate the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines before the peak of any impending Omicron wave. There is currently no data to indicate that Omicron infection is associated with a change in the pattern of susceptibility to serious COVID-19 (hospitalisation and death). Persons of older age, or who are in COVID-19 at-risk groups are likely to remain at higher risk from serious COVID-19; therefore, vaccination should be prioritised accordingly.
They emphasise the need for continued efforts to offer COVID-19 vaccination (first, second and booster doses) to those who have yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccinations.
Summary of JCVI advice
Adults (≥18 years)
Young adults (16-17 years)
Children (12-15 years)
Children (5-11 years)
Vaccination following COVID infection
Vaccination of individuals who may be infected or asymptomatic or incubating COVID-19 infection is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on the illness. Vaccination should be deferred in those with confirmed infection- see P30 and 31 in Green book information on vaccines 30 Nov 21 :
Adults and high-risk children
Children and young people <18 years not in high-risk groups
British Congenital Cardiac Association