Millions are eligible for the spring Covid-19 booster from today as hundreds of thousands of vaccination appointments are made available to book through the NHS.
Around five million people in total are eligible for a booster until the end of June, with the first vaccinations taking place from Monday across 3,000 sites in England.
Eligible people include those aged 75 and over, and anyone aged five and over who has a weakened immune system, alongside the care home programme of vaccinations which began two weeks ago.
Over 725,000 Covid vaccination boosters remain available for this week, with more than 320,000 appointments already booked through the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The NHS has issued 1.25 million invitations through the NHS app, where appointments can be made directly.
A further one million people will be asked to book a vaccine appointment this week if they are yet to do so.
Text messages, emails and letters will also be sent to those without the app or not actively using it.
Those who believe they are eligible but have not yet received an invite can self-declare via the National Booking Service and then speak to a clinician on site.
Covid-19 hospital admissions remain highest among over-75s, with the rate currently standing at 34.9 admissions per 100,000 people for 75-84 year-olds and 74.5 per 100,000 for those aged 85 and above.
Rates have fallen in recent weeks but are still well above those for other age groups.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “The covid vaccine still has a crucial role to play in protecting those at greatest risk of severe illness from the virus, including those with a weakened immune system as well as all aged 75 and above.
“It is great to see that around 320,000 people have booked in to get a jab with around hundreds of thousands of further slots available across the country this week alone.
“The NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme has delivered almost 145 million vaccine doses since December 2020 and staff will not stop in their efforts to give people extra protection.
“I would urge anyone eligible for this extra protection to get their spring covid vaccination at the earliest opportunity and give yourself peace of mind this summer.”
Those invited should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months after the last dose.
The last spring vaccination appointments will be offered on June 30, with more targeted seasonal campaigns likely in the future.
Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone who was aged five on or before August 31 2022 will also end after that date, following recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Earlier this year, the JCVI said the spring booster campaign can include vaccination with the Pfizer, Moderna, Sanofi/GSK jabs.
The Novavax jab will be available for use only when alternatives are not considered clinically suitable.
Children under 12 will be offered a children’s formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The vaccine people receive will depend on local supply.
Published: by Radio NewsHub