NHS vaccinates half of care home residents in three weeks

The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme has vaccinated more than 150,000 older adult care home residents in England in just three weeks since the campaign began – over half of all those eligible.

Roving teams of NHS staff have visited more than 6,000 care homes – almost three in five – to offer the spring jabs since the campaign launched on Monday 3 April with the targeted visits.

As of Tuesday 25th April, 153,460 care home residents have taken up the offer – 50.2% of those eligible.

NHS teams will continue to visit the remaining older adult care homes in the coming weeks to offer protection to all residents.

The NHS has administered more than one million spring vaccinations in total just over a week since the offer was first made available outside of care homes.

Around 6.6 million people in total are eligible in line with JCVI guidance, which includes people 75 and over, those aged five and over with a weakened immune system, and care home residents.

Everyone eligible is able to get vaccinated by booking an appointment online or through the NHS App at one of thousands of local sites, including community pharmacies and GP practices.

There are more than 540,000 appointments available over the rest of this week and next.

It is the first time that millions have been sent their initial invitations through the NHS App, where they can also book an appointment, as the NHS continues to expand its technological capabilities.

Text messages and letters will also be sent to those without the app or not actively using it.

The NHS – now in its 75th year – has administered more than 145 million covid jabs over several vaccination campaigns since Maggie Keenan became the first in the world outside of a clinical trial to receive the vaccination in December 2020.

NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said: “Our fantastic NHS staff continue to deliver covid vaccines with speed and precision, prioritising those who are most vulnerable from covid once again and vaccinating more than 150,000 care home residents.

“I am really pleased to say that just three weeks into the campaign, we have visited more than half of older adult care homes, vaccinating more than half of all eligible residents, and I would encourage anyone due a spring dose to book an appointment at the earliest opportunity and join the more than one million giving themselves maximum protection for the months ahead.”

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said: “The highest hospital admission rates for Covid-19 continue to be among the over-75s, so it is important everyone in this age group keeps their immunity topped up by coming forward for their spring booster.

“The virus has not gone away and we continue to see thousands of cases reported every week, so topping up your protection is particularly important for groups who are more vulnerable.”

Health Minister Helen Whately said: “NHS vaccination teams are doing an incredible job, already giving the majority of care home residents the protection they need from covid through the spring booster programme.

“As well as care home residents, the offer of a booster is also available to people aged over 75 and those with weakened immune systems, so if you’re eligible, do book an appointment and join the more than one million people who’ve already been jabbed this spring.”

This latest vaccination is being offered to those considered most at risk, following advice from the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation. Those invited should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months since their last dose.

Anyone who believes they should be eligible for a vaccine but does not get invited can check online. Alternatively, they can self-declare via the National Booking Service and then speak to a clinician on site.

The last spring vaccination appointments will be offered on 30 June.

Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone who was aged 5 on or before 31 August 2022 will also end after that date, following recent advice from the JCVI. After 30 June, the NHS offer will become more targeted to those at increased risk, usually during seasonal campaigns.

There are currently more than 2,500 sites across England, with the majority of appointments being delivered in communities by pharmacies and GPs.