The NHS will be inviting another three million people who will become eligible for their booster next week as the life-saving NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to protect those most at risk from the virus.
For the first time, the NHS will be inviting those who had their second dose more than five months ago following the change in government guidelines, 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 13 million invites, including texts, letters and emails, have already been sent to eligible people so far asking them to book their booster online through the National Booking Service. The additional letters due to land next week will mean around 16 million invites have been sent since the NHS booster programme began.
Eligible people can also attend local walk-in sites without an appointment and can find their nearest walk-in through the online site finder.
Millions of invitations will land on doorsteps next week as latest figures show that more than seven in 10 people aged 80 and over have had their boosters, while almost three in five people 50 and over have too.
Last week, the NHS confirmed every care home had either been visited by GP teams or have a vaccination clinic booked in the coming days and weeks.
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 eight million boosters in seven weeks.
Over 88 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: “Thanks to the efforts of NHS staff, eight million people have received their booster already seven weeks in to the NHS booster campaign, with seven in 10 over 80s vaccinated with crucial extra protection as we head into a winter like no other.
“I had my booster at a local pharmacy last month and with millions more people receiving invites this coming week, I would encourage anyone who receives a text or letter to book an appointment or visit a walk-in site and get their top-up dose as soon as they can.
“The booster vaccine is not simply a nice to have – it is a quick and effective way to provide us all with 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 five months on from their second dose – the number of people who are eligible changes daily as additional people reach five 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.
Those receiving invites can also attend a walk-in site and use the online walk-in site finder to locate their nearest site.
The online booking system also recently opened to children to allow them to book an appointment for their jab at a vaccination site, as an additional way to get protected.
The booking service provides an additional option for parents to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools’ programme which continues to visit hundreds of schools.