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More than one million booster jabs have been booked in the last three days as the NHS vaccination programme continues its drive to protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus this winter.
Around 356,000 boosters were booked this morning alone (midnight to midday) – around nine times more than last Monday morning when 38,600 appointments were made.
And over 670,000 appointments were booked across Saturday and Sunday, as latest data shows almost three in four people aged 75 and over have already had their top-up jab.
The surge in bookings comes as the NHS is now inviting those who had their second dose more than five months ago for their booster, allowing people to book their top-up jab in advance of becoming eligible so they can receive it as soon as they reach six months.
More than 8.5 million eligible individuals have received an extra dose of the vaccine since the booster programme began just seven weeks ago, including people who are clinically vulnerable, aged 50 and above, or who work in health and social care.
The NHS COIVD vaccination programme has so far administered more than 89 million doses of the life-saving COVID vaccine since making history in December 2020, when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside a clinical trial.
Booster vaccines have also been delivered or booked in at every older adult care home in England where safe to do so, protecting the most vulnerable from COVID-19.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “It is fantastic to see such strong uptake for the booster vaccine, with over a million people rushing to book their extra dose over the weekend and making sure they have as much protection as possible ahead of winter.
“In just seven weeks more than 8.5 million people have received their top-up jab, including almost three quarters of over-75s, and with eligible people now able to book their booster vaccine online five months after their second jab, it is easier than ever to get protected.
“I’ve had my booster – it was quick and easy and I urge anyone else who is eligible to take up the offer as soon as possible, as the vaccine remains the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from coronavirus”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Record numbers of people are getting their COVID-19 booster vaccines and in just three days, over a million people have come forward to play their part by booking in for their boost which will top-up their immunity as we head into the winter months.
“We are making it easier and more convenient for people to book their jab by allowing eligible people to pre-book their appointments a month in advance.
“If it has been five months since you had your second dose – please log onto the National Booking Service or call 119 to book in your top-up vaccine for when you hit the 6 month mark. It is the most important thing you will do protect yourself and your family”.
Following updated guidance from the JCVI, the NHS began administering booster vaccines within just 48 hours.
Those who are eligible for a booster vaccine 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.
There are more places delivering vaccines now than at any other point in the programme, including pharmacies, GP practices and other community sites, meaning almost every person lives within 10 miles of a fixed vaccination clinic.
The NHS is also offering vaccinations to 12-15 year olds, with parents able to find local sites through online walk-in finder to search for their nearest centre.
They can also continue to use the national booking service to book their child’s jab or through the ongoing schools programme.