More than three quarters of eligible adults have received their lifesaving booster, thanks to NHS staff and volunteers who have continued to pull out all the stops to protect the nation.
In total, over 28 million eligible people aged 18 and over received their top up jab by 30 December, as the NHS booster campaign continues at pace.
The biggest and most successful vaccination drive in NHS history has also boosted around 90% of eligible people aged 50 and over in England, as well as around 80% of eligible people in their thirties.
NHS staff continued to deliver ‘jingle jabs’ over the festive period, including some sites jabbing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, in a bid to get people protected against the Omicron variant.
Vaccinations have been taking place at soup kitchens, stadiums and races courses and even at curry houses and Christmas markets.
More than 1.5 million appointments are still up for grabs in the next week with health chiefs urging people to not delay their jab with plenty of slots available to get boosted now.
Every eligible adult can book in for their vital jab – a month in advance of becoming eligible which is 3 months on from their second jab.
Back to back records were delivered by the NHS vaccination programme in the run up to Christmas including a ‘super‘ Saturday with more than 830,000 boosters reported and 1.5 million over the weekend before Christmas.
Recent data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that two doses of the vaccine are not enough to stop people becoming unwell from Omicron, but a booster significantly increases protection against the variant.
In line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance, the NHS cannot vaccinate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 28 days.
Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS COVID vaccination programme, said: “The fact that we have boosted more than three quarters of eligible adults in such a short space of time shows just how hard our incredible staff have been working, together with volunteers, to protect people from the virus.
“It also shows great enthusiasm from the public, who are playing their part and helping us to protect the country – we are all on this national mission together.
“But we cannot rest on our laurels, so if you haven’t yet been boosted and are eligible, please help us by coming forward – there are hundreds of thousands of slots available – book yours today and get boosted now”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are making brilliant progress with our world-leading COVID-19 booster programme. More than 34 million doses have been administered across the UK and 75% of eligible adults in England have now had the top-up jab.
“Booster vaccines increase your immunity and provide strong protection against Omicron. As we continue to fight this virus together it is absolutely crucial everybody joins the national mission by getting boosted as soon as you can – please do not delay”.
GP teams have been asked to clinically prioritise their services to free up maximal capacity to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme, alongside delivering critical appointments such as cancer, urgent and emergency care.
Vaccination sites have been asked to operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week wherever possible and in every community there should be slots available at least 16 hours a day – with some sites extending to 24- hour operation to make it easier for people who work shift patterns.
Since making history by delivering the first COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial to Maggie Keenan in December last year, the NHS in England has administered over 111 million doses including more than 28 million boosters.
While boosters remain vital, the NHS continues its evergreen offer to those who have not yet received their primary doses – delivering over 1.5 million first and second doses in December so far.
On Monday 20 December, the NHS opened the national booking service for 12-15 year olds to get their second COVID-19 vaccine, with more than half (52.2%) already having received their first dose.
Parents and guardians are asked to attend vaccination sites with their children if are getting jabbed outside of school hours and consent will be sought on the day. Parents and young people are asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.