NHS chief Amanda Pritchard receives COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard today urged people to get their COVID-19 booster vaccine as she joined over 17 million people in England who have had their top-up jab.

The NHS chief got a dose in each arm as she also received the flu vaccine from Bhaveen, a pharmacist at the Junction Pharmacy in Brixton, this morning.

Ahead of the first anniversary of the NHS delivering the first COVID-19 vaccine in the world on Wednesday, Amanda thanked the “incredible efforts” of NHS staff and volunteers who have protected millions of people at speed.

Watch the video of Amanda receiving her vaccines and thanking NHS staff and volunteers.

Almost 100 million jabs have been delivered since the NHS in England made history by delivering the first COVID-19 vaccination outside a clinical trial on December 8, 2020, to Maggie Keenan in Coventry.

The NHS is to offer everyone eligible for their booster jab a dose by the end of January. Each group will be contacted when it is their turn to get vaccinated, with more newly eligible groups set to be called forward to book through the National Booking Service when the UK Health Security Agency updates the Patient Group Directive, allowing more people to get their booster.

Staff at almost 3,000 vaccination sites across the country – including pharmacies, GPs, sports stadiums and places of worship – are getting jabs into people’s arms as the NHS enters the most complex stage of the vaccination rollout to date.

As well as jabbing their own staff, hundreds of hospitals have now also been asked to vaccinate other local NHS workers, eligible patients and social care staff as well, with more hospitals doing this from this week.

On top of this, in the past month, the NHS has rolled the programme out to almost 300 more pharmacies, meaning there are 1,300 more offering vaccinations compared to February.

Speaking at the Junction pharmacy in Brixton Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, said: “It is almost one year to the day since the NHS delivered the first COVID vaccination in the world, to Maggie Keenan in Coventry – that moment was watched around the globe, a moment of hope after months of fear.

“Thanks to the incredible efforts of NHS staff and volunteers, we have now delivered almost 100 million vaccinations, including over 17 million booster vaccines.

“I am delighted to join them and get my booster at the Junction pharmacy in Brixton this morning.

“The booster jab was quick, easy and I now have extra protection against the virus.

“The wonderful staff here, as at pharmacies across the country, are playing a key part in the rollout and they are making every contact with patients count – I was also able to get my flu vaccine this morning, boosting my protection for this winter.

“The pandemic, sadly, isn’t over and the new Omicron variant must act as a call to arms for those who haven’t yet had their jab.

“When it’s your turn, please come forward –  the vaccine will give you and your loved ones the protection I have received today”.

Following updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation last week, the NHS is entering the most complex phase of the programme to date, with millions more people eligible for a booster.

The NHS is inviting people most at risk from the virus first and is working through age groups in stages – currently people aged 40 and over are eligible, as well as those with health conditions, and health and care workers.