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Almost half a million people have booked in for their booster jab in just two days, as the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to protect those most at risk from coronavirus.
In just two days this week (Wednesday and Thursday), there were almost half a million – 465,000 – bookings for boosters.
With more than 750,000 bookings over the past seven days, the National Booking Service had its busiest week of booster bookings since the campaign kickstarted just over one month ago.
Since 16 September, the NHS in England has delivered more than four million additional doses of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine to those eligible – more than double the rate of the initial rollout in December.
In just one day this week, Thursday, the latest figures show that the NHS delivered more than 250,000 booster jabs to eligible people – more than any other day since the campaign launched.
Almost 84 million vaccines have already been delivered and nine in 10 adults have had their first dose since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.
The vaccination rollout, the biggest and fastest in NHS history, has ensured 38 million people across England have had both doses of the jab.
There are more clinics delivering vaccines now than at any other point in the programme, including pharmacies, GP practices and other convenient community sites – almost every person registered with an English GP practice lives within 10 miles of a fixed vaccination location.
And new figures show COVID booster jabs have been delivered or booked in at almost nine in 10 care homes as the NHS vaccination programme accelerates ahead of winter.
They also revealed that four out of five care homes have now been visited or have a booster clinic booked, as the NHS intensifies the latest phase of the vaccination campaign.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director said: “As NHS staff continue to deliver the next stage of our hugely successful vaccination programme, more than four million people most at risk from COVID-19 have already had their vital top-up jab, and it is great to see hundreds of thousands are booking their appointments every single day.
“We want to see even more people come forward – the booster provides important immunity against the virus – it isn’t just a nice to have. So if you are eligible and you haven’t booked, please do come forward”.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: “It is amazing to see the public step up to do all they can to keep building our wall of defence against COVID-19 by coming forward for their booster vaccine – with almost 500,000 bookings over the last two days.
“One of the most important things you can do this winter if eligible is to book your booster and flu vaccine to strengthen your immunity, reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and stop yourself getting seriously ill. While we remain ahead in the race between the vaccine and virus, the gap is narrowing and the top-up jabs boost your protection.
“The message is simple: get vaccinated, get boosted, get protected”.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “It is excellent to see the enthusiasm from people to get protected with their booster vaccine this week.
“The vaccines have built a wall of defence across this country – and the booster campaign will prioritise that protection for the most vulnerable.
“Please don’t hesitate and book your jab as soon as possible”.
The NHS will contact you to offer you a booster vaccine if you are eligible and it has been at least six months (182 days) since the date of your second vaccine dose. Anyone receiving an invite should come forward as soon as possible to get crucial protection.
If it has been longer than six months and one week since you had your second vaccine dose, and you are eligible but haven’t been contacted, please try to book your appointment on www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or if you can’t use the website, by calling 119.
The booster programme is being delivered through existing sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres.
Those who are eligible for a booster at least six months on from their second dose include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- 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.
NHS staff have started vaccinating young people aged 12 to 15 at schools after the government accepted the UK Chief Medical Officers’ recommendation to extend the vaccine offer to this age group. This group can also now book through the National Booking Service to get their jabs through a local vaccination site, providing an option for parents who may want to get their child vaccinated during half term.
The NHS has been vaccinating 16- and 17-year olds with a single dose since the start of August, with hundreds of thousands already protected.
Earlier this month, the NHS encouraged pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as data showed that nearly 1 in 5 of the most critically ill COVID patients were unvaccinated pregnant women.