The NHS has started delivering Covid booster jabs to people in eligible groups in the South West, as the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in health service history moves to the next stage.
In line with new guidance set out by the JCVI, the NHS vaccination programme will now invite eligible people, who had their second Covid jab at least six months ago, for a top up.
Hospital hubs have started vaccinating frontline health and care workers as well as identifying other eligible patients for their booster vaccine immediately, with GP-led local vaccination services to follow in the coming days.
Full vaccination rollout will begin from next week, as more vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led sites come online following final checks, giving people further protection from the virus ahead of winter.
People do not need to contact the NHS to arrange their booster vaccine, the NHS will be in touch when they become eligible for the jab, with around 4.5 million people in priority groups eligible for a booster over the coming weeks and months.
People will get a call or text from their local GP led site to get the jab, or will be invited by the National Booking Service, which will start issuing invitations from next week.
Booster jabs are effective for topping up protection for people who have had both of their jabs from at the very least six months on after their second dose.
This means that some of those in the original nine priority groups will not be eligible for their top-up until the New Year.
The booster programme will be delivered through existing vaccination sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccine centres.
Local NHS areas will be prioritising care home residents and staff ensuring they are offered a vaccine by the beginning of November.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan received the first COVID jab outside of a clinical trial in December 2020.
In the nine months since the largest vaccination programme in NHS history began, 77 million vaccinations have been delivered, with four in five adults already receiving both doses of protection. In the South West over 8.3m vaccines have been given which means 99.4% of our population in our priority cohorts 1-9, all those over the age of 50, health and social care workers and those considered clinically vulnerable have received vaccinations.
Kheelna Bavalia, GP and Medical Director (System Improvement & Professional Standards), South West Region, NHS England & NHS Improvement said:“Alongside one of our busiest summers in the NHS, our hardworking staff have also been gearing up to deliver the autumn booster programme, to give further protection to healthcare and social care workers and those most at risk from the virus.”
“Now that the decision has been taken by the JCVI and once the relevant checks are in place, the NHS will invite you for your booster vaccination. There is no need to contact the NHS – we will be in touch with you when it is your turn to get your booster vaccine – at least six months on since your last dose.”
“The fast preparations to get ready for boosters comes on the back of our biggest vaccination drive in health history which has delivered more than 77 million vaccinations across the country and over 8 million in the South West.”
“Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from covid – so please do come forward for this top up of protection when you are invited.”