Millions in England to be invited for Covid booster from Monday

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The Guardian

Millions of care home residents, staff and housebound people in England will be invited for their autumn coronavirus vaccine booster from Monday.

Health teams will visit care homes and private homes to vaccinate about 1.6 million residents, staff and housebound people in the latest phase of the vaccine programme, NHS England has said.

An additional 4 million people will be able to book their booster jabs from Wednesday, as well as health and social care staff who do not work in care homes.

Appointments will be available from the following week starting Monday 12 September.

These include those who are at highest risk, such as the over-75s and those with weakened immune systems.

Letters inviting people to book their jabs will start landing on doormats next Wednesday and people are being asked to wait for their invitations before booking an appointment.

The programme will expand in the coming weeks to include 26 million people across England, including the over-50s.

A total of 3,100 sites are expected to be part of the drive, including GP practices and community pharmacies.

The UK is the first country in the world to approve Moderna’s bivalent vaccine – which targets the original Covid variant and the Omicron variant BA.1

The NHS does not expect supply to be an issue and all of those eligible are expected to receive the bivalent jab.

The autumn booster campaign is among a package of NHS measures to prepare for winter, including increasing bed capacity and the number of 999 and NHS 111 staff to deal with any additional pressure.

Covid infections in most parts of the UK are falling, with levels in England dropping below 1 million for the first time since the start of June, figures show.

However, health experts have warned the virus is likely to become more prevalent in the autumn and winter.

The NHS director of vaccinations and screening, Steve Russell, said: “The NHS will begin vaccinating those who are most vulnerable to Covid from next week, with the autumn campaign kicking off in care homes from Monday and 4 million more people will be invited to come forward later in the week.

“NHS staff are gearing up once again to deliver these vaccines at speed, rolling out jabs at more than 3,000 sites across England in order to provide the maximum protection ahead of winter.”

The health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “An autumn booster will top up the immunity of those most vulnerable to Covid ahead of the winter to help us continue to live with this virus without restrictions.

“Please come forward for your booster and flu vaccine when invited.”

The NHS is calling for volunteers to help with the booster programme over the coming winter months.

Steward volunteers help at vaccination sites with non-clinical tasks, including moving patients through the process and identifying people who require additional support.

Shifts are flexible across a variety of centres around England and can be booked with the GoodSAM mobile phone app. Expenses are covered and no qualifications are required.

St John Ambulance is also calling for 4,000 extra volunteer vaccinators to come forward.

September 3, 2022 at 01:27PM Guardian staff and agency

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