Scotland Times

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Covid booster rollout to start in early September in England

Covid booster rollout to start in early September in England

Autumn booster vaccines against Covid-19 will start being offered from 5 September in England, with care home residents and housebound people the first to get them.

About 26 million people in total will be eligible for the booster jab.

The new bivalent vaccine from Moderna will be used "subject to sufficient supply", NHS England says.

The original vaccines continue to provide good protection and people are being urged to take the one offered.

Booking can be made online and by phoning 119, and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn to book.

Some people will be offered a flu vaccine and Covid booster jab at the same time, and thousands of local GP practices and community pharmacies will be ready to give them out.

There should be a three-month gap between the date of the autumn booster and any previous Covid jab.


Winter protection


Steve Russell, NHS director for vaccinations and screening, said: "This winter will be the first time we see the real effects of both Covid 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."

The NHS is encouraging people aged over 75, and those who are particularly vulnerable and at risk of serious illness, to book their slots in early September.

A wider rollout including those groups will start from 12 September with the oldest and most vulnerable prioritised.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, called the new bivalent vaccine "variant-busting", saying the NHS would be the first in the world to deliver it.

The bivalent vaccine, which was recently approved for use in adults in the UK, targets both the original strain of coronavirus and the first Omicron variant (BA.1).

"When the time comes, I would strongly encourage anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, to do so as quickly as possible - it will give you maximum protection this winter," Ms Pritchard said.

The UK's vaccine committee, which advises governments in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, has said the following groups should be offered some form of booster in the autumn:

*  health and social care staff

*  everyone aged 50 and over

*  carers who are over the age of 16

*  people over five whose health puts them at greater risk, this includes pregnant women

*  people over five who share a house with somebody with a weakened immune system

The individual UK nations organise their own rollouts ahead of the winter.

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