• Thursday, October 06, 2022

News

NHS to roll out variant-busting Covid booster jab next month

Around 26 million people in Britain are estimated to be eligible for an autumn Covid-19 booster.

Crew members onboard MS Balmoral receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine from the Pharmacy2U Covid-19 vaccination team at Newcastle Passenger Cruise Terminal on April 29, 2022 in North Shields, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images for Pharmacy2U)

By: Pramod Thomas

The NHS will roll out the next phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme with the next generation, bivalent vaccine on 5 September starting with care home residents and people who are housebound, a statement said. 

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised boosters should be given to over-50s, individuals in clinical risk groups, frontline workers and care-home staff ahead of the winter, when respiratory viruses are typically at their peak.

The wider roll-out will be from 12 September and the national booking service will open in the first week of September. People who are most susceptible to serious illness from Covid-19 and those aged 75 and over will be given priority.

People can book online or through 119 for as long as it has been three months since their last dose, the NHS said.

Around 26 million people across England will be eligible for an autumn booster in line with guidance set out by the JCVI. As many as 3,000 sites are expected to be part of the rollout, including GP practices and community pharmacies, with new sites joining the programme all of the time.

According to the healthcare provider, more than 126 million covid vaccines have been administered since the first Covid-19 jab. 

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Our fantastic NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to deliver 126 million doses to date and behind the scenes, they have once again been preparing to deliver the latest phase with the same speed and precision as we have had throughout the rollout.

“When the time comes, I would strongly encourage anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, to do so as quickly as possible – it will give you maximum protection this winter.”

NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “We know that our GPs and community pharmacies have been integral to the success of the NHS Vaccination Programme due to their locations and relationships with local communities, and so it is fantastic that so many have opted to be part of the latest phase of the campaign.

“The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get an autumn booster and will be inviting the first people outside of a care home to book in ahead of the formal rollout in early September – please book in as quickly as possible when invited to give yourself protection this winter.”

The NHS will also be rolling out the flu vaccine and encouraging eligible people to take up the offer.

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