The NHS has started delivering COVID booster jabs to people in eligible groups from today, as the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in health service history moves to the next stage.
In line with new advice set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Tuesday 14 September, the NHS vaccination programme will now invite eligible people, who had their second COVID jab at least six months ago, for a top up.
Hospital hubs have started vaccinating frontline health and care workers as well as identifying other eligible patients for their booster vaccine immediately, with GP-led local vaccination services to follow in the coming days.
Full vaccination rollout will begin from next week, as more vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led sites come online following final checks, giving people further protection from the virus ahead of winter.
People do not need to contact the NHS to arrange their booster vaccine, the NHS will be in touch when they become eligible for the jab with around 4.5 million people in priority groups eligible for a booster over the coming weeks.
People will get a call or text from their local GP-led site to get the jab, or will be invited by the National Booking Service, which will start issuing invitations from next week.
Booster jabs are effective for topping up protection for people who have had both of their jabs from at the very least six months on after their second dose.
Some of those in the original nine priority groups will not be eligible for the top-up until the new year.
The booster programme will be delivered through existing vaccination sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccine centres.
Local NHS areas will be prioritising care home residents and staff ensuring they are offered a vaccine by the beginning of November.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan received the first COVID jab outside of a clinical trial in December 2020.
In the nine months since the largest vaccination programme in NHS history began, 77 million vaccinations have been delivered, with four in five adult already receiving both doses of protection.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme said:
Catherine Cargill, a maternity support worker said:
Those who are eligible include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Local areas have already been identifying and vaccinating people aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed with a third jab following updated guidance from the JCVI in early September.
Over 2,000 sites have taken part in the largest vaccination programme in NHS history since it launched including mosques, cinemas, and sports grounds.
In line with JCVI advice people will receive either one dose of the Pfizer vaccine or half a dose of the Moderna vaccine.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Latest statistics published by Public Health England show the impact of the largest ever NHS vaccination programme with around 112,000 lives saved thanks to the programme.
The NHS has been planning for the roll out of a potential booster programme so that it could deliver any approved booster jabs as quickly as possible dependent upon final advice from the JCVI.
On Monday, the government accepted the advice of the four chief medical officers to offer a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all healthy 12 to 15-year-olds. The NHS is working with partners and the School Age Immunisation Service to deliver this with children due to start getting the lifesaving jabs in schools from next week.
Source: NHS / Public Health England