Rollout of the Covid booster program starts today – how to book yours
A new Covid vaccine booster program is set to open for bookings this week – as the first vaccines are distributed.
The ‘saving’ shot is being rolled out to people in care homes from today (September 5) as the NHS Covid-19 vaccination program moves into the next phase.
Then from Wednesday, bookings will open up further, with invitations to book appointments landing on doormats across the country.
Who can get Covid booster shots?
The new reminder is initially intended for people living in nursing homes, ahead of the fall and winter flu season.
Then, from Wednesday, around seven million people, including people aged 75 and over, immunocompromised people and health and care workers, will be able to book online or by calling 119.
Invitations will also be sent by mail, encouraging people to make their appointments for the following week without delay.
The NHS will contact people when it is their turn to register for the vaccine – you do not need to contact the NHS.
As with previous campaigns, the oldest and most vulnerable will be called first, with people able to book online or via 119 as long as three months have passed since their last dose.
NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: ‘Once again the NHS is launching a vital vaccination campaign to protect the nation ahead of winter, starting with those most vulnerable to serious illness and hospitalization due to covid and flu.
“NHS staff have been working hard to prepare for the final phase of the rollout of the covid vaccine – the largest and fastest in our 74-year history – with a record number of sites in the local communities ready to offer vaccinations to millions of people.
“When the reservations department opens on Wednesday, don’t delay – the best way to protect yourself against serious illness this winter is to get vaccinated when prompted, as well as your annual flu shot if you’re eligible. ”
NHS Director of Vaccinations and Testing Steve Russell added: “NHS staff are ready to do all they can to quickly deliver the next phase of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination program again, with more than 3 000 sites from top to bottom the country concerned.
“As of Wednesday, more than seven million people over the age of 75, immunocompromised or a frontline health and care worker will be able to make an appointment from the following week – and if you receive an invitation, please book as soon as possible to get the maximum protection before winter.
Why is the Omicron Covid-19 Booster different?
The stunt being rolled out to more than 700 care homes in England this week is being touted as a ‘variant’ stunt.
It is designed to fight the Omicron variant, which caused a surge in cases when it became the dominant virus late last year and early 2022.
The autumn reminder campaign also aims to help the NHS prepare for winter, when the service is once again strained.
Health bosses say the NHS continues to face record demand for its emergency and urgent care services.
Other measures introduced include increasing bed capacity, increasing the number of 999 and NHS 111 staff and working with social care colleagues to ensure patients can be discharged in a timely manner .
What is the Covid alert level in the UK?
News of the booster deployment comes just days after ministers lowered Britain’s alert from Level 3 to Level 2.
The decision, based on advice from UKHSA, came after the UK’s chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director recommended it was now safe to do so.
“Covid remains present in the community and we could see an increase in cases with BA 4.6 and BA.2.75 circulating but do not expect this to lead to an immediate increase in hospital pressures,” said a statement from medical advisers in chief.
“This will continue to be monitored. Further Covid outbreaks are likely, so be prepared by getting vaccinated when offered.