More than four in five eligible adults aged 18 or over have now had their life-saving booster vaccine as the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the biggest and fastest in health history, continues to protect the nation from the threat of Omicron.
The NHS ramped up capacity last month to roll out booster jabs at unprecedented speed, with staff delivering ‘jingle jabs’ over Christmas and the New Year everywhere from soup kitchens and Christmas markets, to stadiums and curry houses.
So far, more than 30 million adults have now had their booster dose, which is 80% of those eligible, including nine in 10 people aged 50 and over.
More people continue to become eligible for their booster every day, three months on from their second dose in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance.
As of yesterday, there were 1.2 million slots available for the rest of this week at one of the around 3,000 vaccination sites across the country, from a drive-through at Blackburn Rovers’ stadium to a fire station in Cosham.
Since the NHS in England made history by delivering the first COVID-19 vaccination outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in December 2020, hard-working staff and volunteers have delivered more than 114 million vaccine doses to over 43 million people.
Any adult who has had COVID is not able to get their next vaccine dose until at least 28 days after first testing positive, in line with JCVI guidance. Children are advised to wait 12 weeks.
GP and NHS Deputy Lead for the Vaccination Programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “We would not have been able to vaccinate four in five adults with a vital booster at such a phenomenal speed without NHS staff, volunteers and local partners, who have pulled out all stops to administer more than 30 million boosters in total, as the largest and fastest vaccine programme in NHS history hits yet another milestone.
“I would urge everyone still eligible to book in for their top-up dose to do so as soon as they can – there are millions of slots available up and down the country each week as well as walk-ins and it has never been easier or more convenient to get protected”.
The NHS boosted capacity to expand the vaccine drive before Christmas by extending opening hours in every community and getting local GP teams to clinically prioritise services to free up capacity, as well as inviting around 700,000 people to move forward their appointment from six months to three months.
Anyone eligible for a first, second or booster jab can book a convenient appointment online through the national booking service to guarantee their boost of protection.
Since the NHS vaccination programme opened to people aged 12 to 15 in September, more than 1.4 million young people have had their first dose, with thousands still getting jabbed each day.
All children aged 12 to 15 are also eligible for a second dose of vaccine if it has been more than 12 weeks since their first jab. They can get this through the National Booking Service, locally through their GP, or via the schools’ programme.
The NHS will also be inviting those aged 16 and 17 and at risk 12 to 15 year olds for a booster in line with updated guidance shortly.