NHS delivers booster vaccine to half of eligible people aged 50 and over

Half of eligible people aged 50 and over have already received their COVID-19 booster jab in England, as the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in NHS history continues.

More than 4.5million people aged 50 and over – 4,547,927 people – have received a top-up in protection in fewer than six weeks as part of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme. More than five million people in total have received their booster, including those who are clinically vulnerable.

The milestone follows a record week for booster jabs with nearly 1.5million top-up jabs taking place last week (Monday to Sunday) – with more than 710,000 boosters delivered on Friday and over the weekend alone.

Last week also saw record bookings for boosters using the National Booking Service with nearly 900,000 people booking in their booster jab, a 42 per cent increase on the previous week of booster bookings.

A further two million invites are being sent out by the NHS this week as more people become eligible as they reach the six-month mark.

More than 85million vaccines have already been delivered and nine in 10 adults have had their first dose since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.

There are more clinics delivering vaccines now than at any other point in the programme, including pharmacies, GP practices, and other convenient community sites – almost every person registered with an English GP practice lives within 10 miles of a fixed vaccination location.

The NHS is vaccinating in line with guidance set by the JCVI which says that eligible groups can have a booster shot, a minimum of six months on from their second jab for maximum protection.

Jane Scattergood, senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Vaccination programme, said: “Demand for the booster has been extremely high in Lancashire and South Cumbria, and as soon as eligible people are getting their booster invites they are finding a venue handy for them and booking straight in.

“It means we’re getting through thousands of boosters a day. And coupled with the annual flu vaccination programme in full swing and first and second Covid-19 doses, that’s a lot of jabs!

“With COVID-19 still spreading in our communities, and other winter bugs including flu beginning to circulate, we are making sure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected.”

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS deputy vaccination programme lead, said: “It’s fantastic to see such enthusiasm for the NHS booster campaign as record numbers have come forward and either booked or received their vital vaccination, joining myself and millions of others who have already had our vital top-up.

“Thanks to the huge efforts of staff, half of over-50s are already protected – a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time.

“The booster is not a nice to have – it is really important you come forward for yours as soon as you become eligible, at least six months on from your second jab, giving you and your loved ones extra protection over the winter months.”

Anyone eligible for a booster who is 190 days on from their second dose can go online and book through NHS Digital’s booking service or call 119 if they need extra support with their booking.

More than nine in ten care homes have now been visited by the NHS or have a booster clinic booked in.

The NHS started the booster programme within 48 hours of the JCVI recommendation and in little over a month since the rollout begun the NHS in England has delivered more than five million top-up doses of the life-saving jab – more than double the rate of the initial rollout in December.

The vaccination rollout, the biggest and fastest in NHS history, has ensured 38 million people across England have had both doses of the jab.

The NHS will contact you to offer you a booster vaccine if you are eligible and it has been at least six months (182 days) since the date of your second vaccine dose. Anyone receiving an invite should come forward as soon as possible to get crucial protection.

The booster programme is being delivered through existing sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices, and vaccination centres.

In line with JCVI guidance, those who are eligible for a booster at least six months on from their second dose include:

  • Those living in residential care homes for older adults.
  • All adults aged 50 years or over.
  • Frontline health and social care workers.
  • Those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers.
  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.