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More than three million top up COVID-19 jabs have been delivered in just four weeks, as the NHS vaccination rollout continues to protect those most at risk from coronavirus.
A total of 3.1 million top ups have been administered with two in five people aged 50 and over who are eligible already coming forward for their extra jab.
More than a third of health and care workers who are eligible have also had their booster vaccine.
England’s top GP and deputy lead for the NHS COVID-19 vaccine programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, is one of the three million people to have received her booster vaccine and urged others to get their top up protection ahead of winter.
The NHS kicked off the booster programme on September 16, within two days of updated advice from the JCVI.
Millions of people have already been invited by text, email and letter encouraging them to book in online through the national booking service.
More than 82 million vaccinations have been delivered, and well over four in five adults have had both doses, since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab in December.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “We’ve already seen a fantastic response to the booster vaccination programme, with over three million doses already given, so if you are waiting to get that vital protection please come forward today.
“I’ve had my vaccine already in the local pharmacy and it was really straightforward, so when you get that important invite please come forward and protect yourself and your family this winter”.
Currently around 6.5 million people in England are eligible for a booster including health and care workers, those with underlying health conditions and people aged 50 and over.
People who are eligible will be invited for their booster shot at least six months on from their second dose, in line with independent expert advice – the number of people who are eligible changes daily as additional people reach six months since their second jab.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “NHS staff and volunteers continue to do an amazing job delivering our phenomenal vaccine rollout, and it is excellent to see that three million people have already come forward for booster vaccines and third doses in England alone.
“Boosters are continuing to reinforce the wall of defence that vaccines have built across the country and will provide vital protection to millions – it will help keep the virus at bay.
“I urge all those eligible for a top-up dose to get yours as soon as possible to not only protect yourself, but also to keep your loved ones safe from this virus”.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “It is brilliant to see we have hit another milestone with three million booster vaccines and third doses given since the rollout began last month.
“It is testament to our brilliant vaccination programme that we have been able to achieve this so rapidly and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our frontline staff and volunteers who have made this possible.
“Everyone eligible should not delay in getting their jab as soon as they can”.
Eligible individuals are able to quickly and conveniently book an appointment at www.nhs.uk/book-covid-booster. People that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
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
- 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.
Earlier this week 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.
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.