Booster jabs are being extended to under-50s as the government’s advisers are set to approve third doses for younger people as early as Monday.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is expected to imminently approve the extension of the booster programme to raise immunity ahead of winter, according to The Times.
The news came as it emerged elderly people cannot book their booster jabs because the NHS wrongly recorded when they had their second.
The Government is relying on the booster programme to protect the most vulnerable over the winter period, with 12 million people given their third jab by Sunday.
“Every jab builds our wall of defence across the country ahead of Christmas,” said Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary.
Those currently eligible for a top-up vaccine – people over 50 and those most at risk of Covid-19 – can now pre-book their jab five months after their second dose, so that they can have the injection on the day they become eligible.
There has been concern in recent weeks that not enough people who are eligible are coming forward to claim their boosters, with uptake slower than for the first two doses of the Covid jabs.
Mr Javid said on Wednesday he cannot rule out the possibility that over-65s who have not had a Covid booster jab could be barred from taking trains or entering restaurants at some point.
The Health Secretary’s comments came during a Sky News interview when he was asked to react to the introduction of such a policy in France.
Mr Javid said the Government was not looking at the idea “yet” but declined to rule out that it would ever be adopted.
A Downing Street source later said the policy was not being actively pursued but added that the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic meant few potential measures could be ruled out.
On Sunday, the Government reported 36,517 new cases in Britain, a fall of nearly 30 per cent since the last peak on October 21. Deaths are also down nearly seven per cent in the last week and hospital admissions by 13 per cent.