From today, around four million people most vulnerable to Covid-19 will start to be invited to book in their autumn booster vaccine as the NHS’ National Booking Service launches appointments for Autumn boosters.
The National Booking Service will go live this morning with frontline health and care workers, immunosuppressed people, and people aged over 75, able to book in for the first ever variant-targeted vaccine on the NHS.
The move which will see those eligible able to book appointments from Monday 12th September, comes after the successful launch of autumn boosters in care homes, with the NHS delivering the latest jabs at more than one thousand care homes this week.
A record 3,100 sites are expected to be part of the rollout, including GP practices and community pharmacies, with new sites joining the programme making getting your booster jab as convenient as possible.
80 hospital hubs will also join the latest booster campaign – delivering the latest jab to members of the public as well as their own staff, and administering the flu vaccine where possible.
Since the NHS made history delivering the first COVID-19 jab outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in Coventry in December 2020, more than 126 million COVID-19 vaccines, including over 33 million top-up vaccinations, have been administered.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “Vaccines save lives and thanks to the phenomenal efforts of NHS staff and the volunteers who have supported us over the past two years, tens of millions have been protected against Covid-19.
“Over 33 million lifesaving boosters were delivered by the NHS in England, and with the NHS now armed with the first variant-targeted dose, the NHS is set to deliver millions of autumn boosters ahead of winter to protect those most vulnerable to the virus.
“It’s fantastic to see that people are once again eager to get their jab with care home residents being the first to be offered the jab – it’s important that anybody eligible books in without delay when they are invited by the NHS either by booking through the NHS website or calling 119.”
Residents at St Margaret’s Residential Home in London were among the first to receive variant-targeted Covid vaccines on Monday.
Resident Jean Rosebuck said: “I wanted the vaccine so it doesn’t go around the carers and other residents”.
Fellow resident Tom Spinks, 80, said: “I wanted to get the booster because it keeps everyone safe and gives me peace of mind.”
Around 26 million people across England will be eligible for an autumn booster over the comings weeks, which includes over 50s, those with a weakened immune system, health and social care workers, care home residents and housebound people and pregnant women, in line with guidance set out by the JCVI.
The latest phase of the vaccination drive has undergone extensive planning and local areas have started protecting care home residents at the earliest opportunity.
As with previous campaigns, those most at risk from serious illness will be called forward first, with people able to book in online or through 119 as long as it has been three months since their last dose.
The autumn booster campaign is among a package of NHS measures to prepare for winter as the health service continues to face record demand on its urgent and emergency care services, including by ramping up bed capacity, increasing the number of 999 and NHS 111 staff, and working with colleagues in social care to ensure patients can be discharged in a timely manner.
The NHS continues to advise local sites to allow people with a weakened immune system to self-declare and attend walk-ins to make getting the extra protection as easy as possible. Health and care workers can book through national booking services too.
Well over four in five eligible people received a spring booster earlier this year and the NHS urged those people to get that dose before the end of July to ensure enough time had passed to optimise the protection an autumn booster would provide over winter.
The NHS will also be rolling out the flu vaccine and encouraging eligible people to take up the offer where possible.
Eligible individuals may be offered the flu and COVID jab at the same time subject to supply, with the doses approved to be co-administered.
Local systems will roll the flu jab out in a way that works best for them.