NHS to roll out COVID-19 variant-busting booster jab from September

People living in Lancashire and South Cumbria will soon be among the first in the world to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine when the autumn booster vaccine programme begins in early September.

Set to start during the week of 5 September, NHS staff will begin vaccinating care home residents and people who are housebound.

The National Booking Service will also open that week ahead of the wider rollout, due to start on 12 September, with the NHS inviting those who are most susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19 and those aged 75 and over to book an appointment from that week.

Extensive planning for the rollout is already underway and local areas have already booked adult care home residents in for their vaccine to ensure they can get protected at the earliest opportunity.

Jane Scattergood, lead for the vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “It’s so exciting that our country is the first to offer the new vaccine which fights against the original strain of the virus and the Omicron variant.

“I would urge everyone who is eligible to get this vaccine as soon as they possibly can. The world has moved forward but COVID-19 is still a horrible virus that can make you seriously ill. The best way to protect yourself is to get every vaccine that is offered to you.”

As with previous campaigns, the oldest and most vulnerable 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.

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 in order to ensure enough time had passed to optimise the protection an autumn booster would provide over winter.

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

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials, and will now be the first to deliver the new, variant-busting vaccine when the rollout begins at the start of September.

“Our fantastic NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to deliver 126 million doses to date and behind the scenes, they have once again been preparing to deliver the latest phase with the same speed and precision as we have had throughout the rollout.”

The NHS will offer people the new next-generation bivalent vaccine where appropriate and subject to sufficient supply being made available to the NHS.

The JCVI and MHRA have stressed that the original vaccines also continue to provide great protection and people should come forward regardless of the vaccine offered.

NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “This winter will be the first time we see the real effects of both COVID-19 and flu in full circulation as we go about life as normal – and so it is vital that those most susceptible to serious illness from these viruses come forward for the latest jab in order to protect themselves.

“We know that our GPs and community pharmacies have been integral to the success of the NHS Vaccination Programme due to their locations and relationships with local communities, and so it is fantastic that so many have opted to be part of the latest phase of the campaign.

“The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get an autumn booster and will be inviting the first people outside of a care home to book in ahead of the rollout in early September – please book in as quickly as possible when invited to give yourself protection this winter.”

The NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book in for the vaccine – you do not need to contact the NHS.

The NHS will also roll out the flu vaccine and encourage eligible people to take up the offer from the first of the month where possible.

Eligible people may be offered the flu and COVID-19 jab at the same time, with the doses approved to be co-administered.

Health and social care staff will also be eligible to get the autumn booster in line with JCVI guidance and in order to ensure NHS staff are protected, all providers are being asked to ensure their staff are offered the autumn jab, co-administering with the flu jab where possible.


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