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Publication reference: PR00271
- Integrated care board (ICB) chief executives
- All GP practices
- All community pharmacies
- Primary care networks
- All trust chief executives
- All local government chief executives
- All health and justice healthcare providers
- All directors of public health
- Regional directors
- Regional directors of commissioning
Preparing for a successful spring 2023 COVID-19 booster campaign
Thank you for your ongoing work and commitment to deliver the 2022 autumn COVID-19 booster and flu campaign. We achieved 17 million COVID-19 and over 20 million flu vaccines, alongside continued delivery of routine immunisation programmes. Your efforts continue to save lives.
The government has accepted interim JCVI advice which states the NHS should plan for an extra booster vaccine dose in spring 2023 and an additional booster dose in autumn.
For spring planning purposes, we are asking systems to plan to vaccinate the groups eligible last spring.
This would include:
- adults aged 75 years and over
- residents in a care home for older adults
- individuals aged 5 years and over who are immunosuppressed, as defined in the Green Book (tables 3 and 4).
This includes those who turn 75 years old by 30th June 2023 who will be eligible for a vaccination at any point in the campaign. Those who are admitted to an older adult care home or become immunosuppressed by 30 June should be considered eligible as well.
This may be updated upon receiving final JCVI advice. Following final JCVI advice, the Green Book will be updated. Further guidance on the transition to a targeted primary course offer will be published in due course.
Regions and integrated care boards (ICBs) working together with providers should now develop plans to deliver a spring booster campaign. This letter sets out key principles for systems when finalising plans:
- Campaign start and end date: Visits to care homes should be planned to begin Monday 3 April 2023 and the spring 2023 COVID-19 booster campaign should be planned to formally commence on Monday 17 April 2023 and end on Friday 30 June 2023. In line with JCVI advice the offer of booster vaccinations will cease outside campaigns.
- Vaccination in care homes and for eligible housebound people: Planning should be on the basis that from week commencing Monday 3 April, PCN groupings and other commissioned COVID-19 vaccination sites should start vaccinating residents in older adult care homes. If the campaign is confirmed, we will be engaging with professional bodies on offering additional support to providers to prioritise the completion of vaccinations in care homes as early as possible. Vaccinations of those who are eligible and housebound will commence with the remainder of the cohorts from Monday 17 April.
- Invitations and booking: The NHS will plan to invite and vaccinate those eligible for a spring booster in time for completion by the 30 June via a combination of local and national invites. Systems should work on the basis that NBS will open on Wednesday 5 April.
- Addressing variation: Systems, working across their partnerships, must ensure equity of access and reduce unwarranted variation across communities through engagement activities to improve confidence and promote uptake, supported by appropriate access.
- Spring 2023 contracts: Regional teams in collaboration with their ICBs are asked to run a light-touch and rapid process to determine which sites/providers could deliver the COVID-19 vaccination service in the spring campaign. Updated GP and CP ES specifications will be published shortly following discussions with professional bodies. Updated Standard Contract schedules will also follow.
- Planning processes: Systems will shortly receive a planning template to confirm operational plans for Spring back to regional colleagues. Please return this by Friday 10 March.
- Supply and deliveries: We will confirm the vaccines to be used in due course. Allocations for care homes will be available by Tuesday 21 March to allow ordering stock for delivery to sites from Monday 27th March. For the remaining cohorts, allocations will be available by Tuesday 4 April for delivery w/c 10 April. Ordering deadlines will continue to be in line with existing fixed delivery day routines. Vaccine assurance will need to be in place before orders can be processed. Our approach for spring will build on the success of priming the network ahead of last year’s autumn campaign.
We recognise that there will be costs associated with mobilisation and confirmation of the funding envelope will follow. The national team will follow up with regional teams shortly.
We will provide further operational guidance to systems as appropriate. NHS England is working with local stakeholders and partners on a vaccination strategy. This will be released in the course of 2023 and will set out the longer term outlook for the future delivery of vaccinations within local systems.
We are grateful for your continued leadership and support to this programme, which will help ensure we are in the strongest possible position as we head into spring.
Steve Russell, National Director for Vaccinations and Screening, NHS England