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The COVID vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in health service history, has today started taking online and phone bookings from people invited for a booster jab.
People who are more vulnerable to the virus are being invited to top up their protection ahead of winter six months or more after receiving their second jab.
They do not need to contact the NHS but will be invited when it is their turn. Texts and letters are going out to around 1.5 million people this week.
The invites follow advice from the JCVI issued last week. Those in line for a booster jab include everyone aged 50 and over, frontline health and social care workers and those aged between 16 and 49 with an underlying health condition putting them at greater risk from the virus.
People will be able to book an appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination at one of the convenient vaccine sites across the country. People that aren’t able go online can book by phoning 119.
Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy vaccine lead for the vaccine programme, has called on people to book their top up vaccine as soon as they are invited to ensure they get extra protection ahead of winter.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the covid vaccination programme, said: “An incredible 77 million vaccinations have taken place since the largest vaccination programme in NHS history launched, and thanks to hard-working NHS staff within 48 hours of receiving the advice the NHS has put booster vaccines in people’s arms along with starting the school vaccination programme also.
“Now that the National Booking Service has opened to people eligible for a booster it’s time to book yourself in, it’s the quickest and most convenient way to book your jab in – and by the time you’ve finished reading this story, you could be booked in with peace of mind knowing when you’re having your booster jab.
“The vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your family and friends as we head in to winter when we know Covid can present a bigger risk to our health”.
While some hospital hubs and primary care sites began offering boosters last week, the programme will ramp up over the coming days as more vaccination centres and pharmacy-led clinics come online.
With a minimum of six months required between the second and booster dose, some people in the original nine priority groups may not become eligible until early next year.
The booster programme will be delivered through existing sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres, and in line with JCVI guidance people will receive either one dose of Pfizer or half a dose of Moderna.
Local health teams will prioritise care home residents and staff to ensure they are offered a booster jab by the beginning of November.
People could also be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Those who are eligible for a booster include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan received the first COVID vaccine outside clinical trials in December 2020.
In the nine months since that moment, the NHS has administered over 77 million vaccinations, with more than four in five adults having had both doses.