The NHS will become the first healthcare system in the world to use the next generation, bivalent covid vaccine when it kickstarts the autumn booster rollout in early September.
Following the updated advice from the JCVI on Monday, the NHS has now set out plans for the next phase of the covid-19 vaccination programme – the largest and fastest vaccine drive in health service history.
With a plan to start vaccinating in care homes in early September, the autumn booster campaign, which will ultimately offer everyone aged 50 and over a further covid booster vaccination, will then begin to offer vaccinations to people aged 75 and over, before opening the offer up to the remaining eligible groups.
Extensive planning for the rollout is already underway and local areas are beginning to book adult care home residents in for their vaccine to ensure they can get protected at the earliest opportunity.
“Just as with previous rounds of the covid vaccination programme, the autumn booster will be offered first to the most vulnerable and/or the oldest members of our population and will then be rolled out down through the age groups over a period of time,” explains Julie Humphreys, Head of Clinical Services at NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board, which organises the programme on behalf of GPs.
“Once you’re contacted about your autumn booster, please come forwards and get it as soon as you can. We’re expecting to be exceptionally busy again, we also expect numbers of covid cases to increase again in the autumn, so it’s very important to get your autumn booster in order to have the maximum protection against covid.”
It’s also worth noting that it’s not too late to get 1st, 2nd and 3rd booster doses of the covid vaccination – everyone aged five and over can get two doses of the covid vaccination, with people aged 16 and over able to have two doses and a 3rd booster vaccination too.
With this in mind, the NHS is still running a number of pop-up vaccination sessions, offering the chance to walk-in and get vaccinated without an appointment, across the county as listed below and also on the website www.lincolnshire.icb.nhs.uk/grabajab
Alternatively, it is possible to book an appointment online using the National Booking System or by calling 119.
The National Booking Service will open ahead of the wider rollout, due to start on September 12, and the NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book in.
As with previous campaigns, the oldest and most vulnerable will be called forward first, with people able to book in online or through 119 as long as it has been three months since their last dose.
The NHS will continue to advise local sites to allow immunosuppressed patients to self-declare and attend walk-ins to make getting the extra protection as easy as possible.
The autumn booster campaign is among a package of NHS measures to prepare for winter, including ramping up bed capacity and increasing the number of 999 and NHS 111 staff to deal with any additional pressure.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to deliver a covid-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials, and will now be the first to deliver the new, variant-busting vaccine when the rollout begins at the start of September.”
The NHS will offer people the new next generation bivalent vaccine where appropriate and subject to sufficient supply being made available to the NHS.
The JCVI and MHRA have stressed that the original vaccines also continue to provide great protection and people should come forward regardless of vaccine offered.
Eligible individuals may be offered the flu and covid jab at the same time, with the doses approved to be co-administered.
Health and social care staff will also be eligible to get the autumn booster in line with JCVI guidance and in order to ensure NHS staff are protected, all providers are being asked to ensure their staff are offered the autumn jab, co-administering with the flu jab where possible.
As well as the various pop-up vaccination sessions listed further below, the Mass Vaccination Centre at Princess Royal Sports Arena (PRSA), Boston, continues to offer walk-ins for 5-11s and 12-17 year-olds, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd booster doses as listed below:
Saturday August 20 – PRSA
5-11s 8am – 2pm
12-15s 8am – 7.30pm