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Almost three million people (2,831,178) who are the most vulnerable to COVID have had their spring booster jab in the six weeks since the latest phase of the NHS COVID vaccination programme kicked off.
The rapid rollout means that the NHS COVID vaccination programme, the biggest and fastest in health service history, has protected over half of those who are eligible including people aged 75 and over, older adult care home residents and those who are immunosuppressed.
The NHS is inviting hundreds of thousands of people for their spring booster weekly as more people become eligible for their jab, with 230,000 due to be invited this week and over 3 million already invited.
In total, around 5.5 million people will be eligible for this dose by the end of June, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance.
Local NHS teams are also contacting care homes in their area, similar to previous rollouts, to arrange for spring boosters for people who are eligible.
The NHS is encouraging those aged 75 and over and anyone who is immunosuppressed to come forward as soon as they are eligible, to ensure they are receiving the maximum possible protection.
Steve Russell, National Director for Vaccinations, said: “In just over six weeks since the NHS COVID vaccination programme began rolling out spring jabs, hardworking teams up and down the country have pulled out all the stops to ensure more than half of those entitled to a spring booster are now protected.
“The NHS will continue to invite people when they are due for a vaccination, including an additional 230,000 this week alone, and so it is vital you come and get your top-up when we contact you”.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said: “It is brilliant to see more than half of the 5.5 million most vulnerable people in England now having received their all-important spring booster, with people still coming forward for protection from COVID in their millions.
“The NHS is continuing to invite hundreds of thousands of people every single week and I’d encourage everyone offered the dose to take it up – it has always been, and remains, our best defence against COVID”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is excellent progress – more than 2.8 million of those most vulnerable to COVID in England have received a vital top up to their immunity.
“The wall of defence provided by vaccines is allowing us to live with this virus and get back to doing the things we’ve missed.
“Please come forward as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself”.
People aged 75 and over, older adult care home residents and those who are immunosuppressed have been able to get their spring booster since 21 March. Alongside more than 3 million invites, over 712,000 reminders have been sent by the NHS to those who are eligible for their spring booster.
Spring booster jab appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
Since the NHS in England made history when Maggie Keenan received the world’s first approved vaccination in Coventry on 8 December 2020 more than 122 million lifesaving COVID jabs have been delivered preventing around 186,0000 hospitalisations and saving thousands of lives.
The 92-year old grandmother is one of the over 50% to have already received their spring booster, getting her full top-up on 22 April. She is one of the latest in a long line of those have had theirs so far, with 95-year old former engineer Devraj Jhalam among the first to get his jab on 21 March in Slough.
Tens of thousands of healthcare workers and volunteers have delivered jabs at thousands of sites including shopping centres, racecourses, theatres, theme parks, places of worship and even a curry house as well as hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and at community pharmacies.
Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency showed that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 186,000 hospitalisations since mid-December.
Meanwhile, a report from the National Audit Office has said the NHS vaccination programme met “stretching and unprecedented targets” as it helped save lives and reduce hospital admissions – all while making effective use of public money.