Covid spring booster invitations to start today, with five million people eligible
The move comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the spring top-up as a precautionary measure
Vulnerable people in England will begin receiving invitations for the spring Covid booster from Monday.
People aged 75 and over and those who are immunosuppressed will be able to book from 7am.
The booster will be made available to around five million people, with 600,000 expected to receive invitations in the first week.
Local NHS teams will also be contacting care homes to arrange the jab for people who are eligible and have been invited.
The move comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the spring top-up as a precautionary measure.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Spring boosters will help top up the immunity of the elderly and the most vulnerable to ensure they are protected and will help us continue to live with this virus.
“Thanks to the NHS for rising to the challenge yet again to get people boosted. Please come forward as soon as you are contacted.”
The NHS said it will invite people to arrange a jab through the national booking service, which can be accessed online at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119, when it is their turn.
Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) estimated just over 157,000 hospitalisations had been avoided through the vaccination programme since December.
But the NHS said hospitals had still treated over 100,000 since the start of the Omicron wave.
Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy SRO for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, said: “Sadly, we are still seeing large numbers of people seriously unwell in hospital with Covid so it remains vital that those most at risk come forward when they are invited to do so.
“The response so far from the public to the largest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history has been incredible, with more than nine in 10 people aged 75 and over getting their initial booster.
“The NHS Covid vaccination programme is once again ready to get people protected, so when you are invited please do come forward for your spring dose.”
Health chiefs are expecting high uptake of spring boosters among people aged 75 and over after 4.5 million of them had their top-up jab over autumn and winter.
The NHS said it has recruited additional call handlers for the 119 service to help people book their vaccine appointments, while hundreds of sites including community pharmacies, vaccination centres and hospital hubs will administering the booster.