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Studies have shown that people who are immunosuppressed – around 500,000 people in the UK – are unlikely to mount a strong defence against COVID-19, even after two doses of vaccine:
On 1 September, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) gave advice that people with severely weakened immune systems should have a third vaccine dose as part of their primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule to increase their protection against the virus.
However, a month later and patients are still waiting. NHS England says eligible patients should be offered the third doses by the end of next week.
The JVCI advised that people having chemotherapy, HIV patients, or people who have received an organ transplant should get a third dose as soon as possible.
On 1 September, NHS England sent out guidance to doctors saying this third dose should be given at least eight weeks after the second jab, and at a time when the patient is not receiving treatment that may make the vaccine less likely to work.