As part of their plan for “living with the virus” this winter, the Government is setting up Covid booster jabs for all over 50s, the Press Association reports.

People in that age bracket will be offered a third jab, which will begin with all over 70s and the most vulnerable.

This will be from a shot of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which will be administered at least six months after the second dose. This is due to concerns that the protection it gives older people fades over time.

Ministers believe this plan will help the NHS not get overwhelmed by new cases of the disease as we move towards the end of the year.

However, this concept has faced some criticism, including from some scientists.

They argue that the priority now should be to get the jab to those countries which have received scant supplies of the vaccine.

Earlier, Downing Street confirmed ministers had received the final advice on the issue from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Health Secretary Sajid Javid will set out the details when he unveils the Government’s winter Covid plan for England in a Commons statement on Tuesday.

However, it is unclear if Boris Johnson will lead the conference following the death of his mother, Charlotte Johnson Wahl, on Monday.

Why are vaccine boosters being used?

The Prime Minister remains determined to avoid another lockdown, with Downing Street insisting it will only be considered as a “last resort”.

Instead, ministers will focus on vaccines as the “first line of defence” supported by testing, public health advice and a new variant surveillance system.

Officials make the argument that deaths and hospital admissions have remained mostly stable over the past month, giving evidence that the vaccines have been effective in preventing serious illness.

Ahead of the announcement, Mr Johnson said: “The pandemic is far from over, but thanks to our phenomenal vaccine programme, new treatments and testing we are able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms.

“I will set out a clear plan for the autumn and winter, when the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made.”

It is thought ministers will retain the options of a return to wearing face masks in public places and restoring work-from-home advice if cases take off again.

However, other measures – such as requiring vaccine passports for people attending nightclubs or other crowded venues – have already been shelved.

It is expected the Government will announce it is repealing a swathe of powers taken through the Coronavirus Act which are no longer considered necessary.

This would have included the power to detain infectious people, close down sectors of the economy and apply restrictions to events and gatherings.

Some measures will be retained – including sick pay from day one for people who are self-isolating, powers to direct schools to remain open if they close against Government guidance, and helping the NHS attain the emergency resources it needs.

It will still remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they have a positive test for Covid.

The move comes after the Government announced on Monday that the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine would be offered to 12 to 15-year olds in England, following advice from the chief medical officers of the four devolved nations of the UK.

The JCVI had previously advised against the step, saying the medical benefits were only marginal.

However, in their advice the medical officers stressed the impact of missed schooling due to Covid on children’s education and mental wellbeing.

In a Commons statement, the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said parental consent would be sought before the vaccine was administered.

In the “rare event” that a parent declined but the child wanted the jab anyway, there would be a procedure to enable them to receive it if they were deemed “competent”.