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NHS COVID-19 vaccine bookings to open to millions of people as autumn booster campaign kicks off

The lifesaving autumn booster rollout kicks off in care homes in England yesterday, as the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme moves to the next phase.

From Wednesday, around seven million people, including people aged 75 and over, people who are immunosuppressed and health and care workers will be able to book in online or by calling 119.

Millions of invitations will be landing on doormats from Wednesday 7 September inviting people to book their appointment for the following week without delay.

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

More than 700 care homes in England will be visited by vaccinating teams this week with thousands more scheduled before the end of the month with residents and staff set to receive the new variant-tackling jab.

As part of the fastest and largest vaccine drive in NHS history, around 1.6 million care home residents and staff and housebound people will be eligible for the autumn dose from yesterday.

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 all the time.

There will also be 80 hospital hubs jabbing members of the public as well as their own staff, administering with the flu vaccine where possible.

More than 126 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the NHS made history when the first COVID-19 jab was delivered outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in Coventry in December 2020.

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.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Once again, the NHS is kicking off a lifesaving vaccination campaign to protect the nation ahead of winter, starting with those most vulnerable to serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID and flu.

“NHS staff have been working incredibly hard to prepare for the latest phase of the COVID vaccine rollout – the biggest and fastest in our 74 year history – with a record number of sites in local communities set to offer vaccinations to millions of people.

“When the booking service opens on Wednesday, don’t delay – the best way to protect yourself from serious illness this winter is to get the vaccine when invited to do so, as well as your annual flu jab if eligible”.

NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “NHS staff are set to pull out all the stops to deliver the next phase of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme at speed once again, with more than 3,000 sites up and down the country involved.

“From Wednesday, over seven million people who are over 75, immunocompromised or a frontline health and care worker will be able to book an appointment from the following week – and if you are receiving an invite then please book in at the earliest opportunity to get the maximum protection ahead of winter”.

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 latest phase of the vaccination drive has undergone extensive planning and local areas have already booked care home residents in for their vaccine to ensure they can get protected at the earliest opportunity.

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.

The NHS will continue 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.

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 and care home residents and housebound people, in line with guidance set out by the JCVI.

More than 126 million COVID vaccines have been administered by NHS staff and volunteers since the first COVID-19 jab was delivered outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in Coventry in December 2020.

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 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.

Channel website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/

Original article link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2022/09/vaccine-bookings-to-open-to-millions-of-people-as-autumn-booster-campaign-kicks-off/

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