COVID booster jabs will be given to all over-50s this autumn

September’s rollout was originally only set to include Brits aged 65-plus or with a serious health condition

But health chiefs have told doctors to prepare for a bigger scheme which would nearly double the number of eligible people from 17.9million to 32m

The autumn top-up shot will be the fifth dose for people in the main priority groups and the sixth for those who are extremely vulnerable

NHS bosses wrote to doctors on Thursday telling them to get ready to re-vaccinate all priority groups – half the UK population

They said: “Winter will remain the season when the threat from Covid-19 is greatest both for individuals and for health communities.”

Infection rates are surging again now, driven on by waning immunity and new Omicron strains called BA.4 and BA.5 which spread faster.

Covid hospital admissions in England have doubled in the past fortnight from 577 on June 7 to 1,155 on Tuesday