NHS ‘booster blitz’ as 1.6 million more people invited for COVID-19 jabs next week

More than 1.6 million people who are newly eligible for their COVID-19 vaccine booster will be invited to come forward next week, as the life-saving NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to protect those most at risk from the virus.

Around 9.5 million invites, including texts, letters and emails, have been sent to people to date to book in for their booster online via the National Booking System as they become eligible.

More invites will land on doorsteps next week as latest figures show that more than half of eligible people over 50 and more than two thirds of people over 80, have already received their booster shot.

Since the NHS kickstarted its COVID-19 booster campaign in less than 48 hours after updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, NHS staff and volunteers have delivered over six million boosters in just over six weeks.

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 vaccination site.

Over 86 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.

Dr Nikki Kanani, Deputy Lead of the NHS Vaccination Programme, said: “It is encouraging to see that thanks to the efforts of NHS staff, millions of people have received their booster already, just over six weeks in, with over half of eligible over 50s already protected as we head into a winter like no other.

“I’ve recently had my booster at a local pharmacy and with more people becoming eligible every day I would encourage anyone who receives their text or letter invite to book an appointment and get their potentially life-saving top-up jab as soon as they can.

“The vaccine is simple, quick and effective and will help us to give the country maximum protection from the virus”.

Text invites will come from ‘NHSvaccine’ and will include a link to the NHS website, enabling anyone eligible to book an appointment at a convenient site nearby.

People who are eligible will be invited for their booster shot at least six months on from their second dose – the number of people who are eligible changes daily as additional people reach six months since their second jab. While anyone eligible for a booster who is 190 days on from their second dose can go online and book through the National Booking System or call 119 if they need extra support with their booking.

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.

Last Friday, the online booking system also opened to children to allow them to book an appointment for their jab at a vaccination site, as an additional way to get protected over half-term and beyond.

The booking service provides an additional option for parents to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools’ programme which has already vaccinated over half a million young people and visited thousands of schools.

More than nine in 10 care homes have now been visited by the NHS or have a booster clinic booked in.