The NHS has administered more than 850,000 vital top up jabs, as the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in health history continues.
A total of 863,460 people have already had their top up jab, including boosters and some third doses, since the NHS launched its booster programme.
More than a million people have already been quick to book in for their booster since the online service opened for bookings just last week.
The NHS has sent a further one million invites to eligible people this week including those who are clinically vulnerable, health and care workers and people aged 50 and over – throughout the week.
Hundreds of thousands of text messages and letters have also been sent to people who had their second jab at least six months ago.
More than 79 million vaccinations have been delivered and nearly 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.
Last week, Maggie also received her top up jab in Coventry alongside matron May Parsons who delivered the first vaccination.
NHS England Medical Director Professor Steve Powis said: “Once again NHS staff have risen to the challenge of delivering the NHS booster campaign at outstanding speed with NHS staff administering vaccinations to those most at risk from COVID just two days after government gave the green light.
“Since then, more than 860,000 people have already come forward for that vital, additional top up in protection that will be needed this winter and I urge anyone who has received an invite to join the million other people who have booked in to protect themselves and their loved ones”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The NHS booster programme is already off to a tremendous start, with over 860,000 people in England alone having received a top up jab in just a few short weeks.
“Getting your booster vaccine if you are eligible, or your third primary dose if you are severely immunosuppressed, is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the protection you’ve gained from your first and second doses is maintained over the winter months.
“Please get your COVID-19 booster as soon as you’re offered it, as well as your flu vaccine, to help keep the virus at bay”.
While decisions on when to get a third jab are for patients and their clinician who knows about their ongoing care and treatment, hospital clinicians and GPs have been vaccinating those who are immunosuppressed with a third dose and have been asked to identify and offer them a vaccine by the end of next week.
Current Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance says that everyone aged 50 and over, as well as clinically vulnerable individuals and frontline health and social care workers, should receive a top up dose.
Those who are eligible must have had their second vaccine at least six months ago and 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 and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Eligible individuals can quickly and conveniently book an appointment via www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. People that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
Messages appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and include a web link to the NHS website to make a booking.
The booster programme is being 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.
People could also be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
The NHS has been vaccinating 16 and 17-year-olds with a single dose, with hundreds of thousands coming forward through the NHS ‘grab a jab’ campaign.
NHS staff have also 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.