The NHS winter vaccine programme is now underway. This week, residents of older adult care homes and people who are housebound will begin receiving their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, as we prioritise those at greatest risk.
From 18 September, other eligible groups will begin to be invited to get their vaccines and people will be able to book their jabs through the NHS website, the NHS App and by calling 119.
The vaccine rollout was brought forward this year on latest expert advice following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant. The NHS is encouraging people to get both vaccinations as soon as they can and not delay, due to the risk of the new COVID-19 variant.
“Following guidance from the Chief Medical Officer and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), NHS England brought forward its covid and flu vaccination programme, which was due to commence at the beginning of October.
“The guidance was issued following the emergence of the COVID variant BA.2.86, which is currently under assessment by UKHSA.
“NHS staff have worked hard to prepare for the earlier start of the programme, as 3,500 sites, more sites than ever before, will be taking part in the campaign this year to make it as easy as possible for people to get protection.”
Steve Russell, NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening, said:
“The NHS flu and covid vaccination programmes have been very effective in protecting those at greatest risk and we will work at speed to ensure they are protected once again this year, starting with care homes and those who are housebound today.
“With concerns arising over new covid variants, it’s vital we adapt the programme and bring it forward for those most at risk, and so I strongly urge everyone eligible to come forward as soon as they can for this important protection in colder months.
“NHS staff have worked hard to ensure services are ready for patients to get jabbed at an earlier stage so they can get their protection as soon as possible.”
With the programme brought forward, vaccine providers will be given an additional payment of £10 for each COVID-19 vaccination they administer to care home residents between 11 September and 22 October. They will also be given a separate one-off payment of £200 for each completed care home by the end of 22 October.
For other eligible groups, vaccine providers will receive an additional £5 acceleration payment for each COVID-19 vaccination administered to eligible people between 11 September and 31 October.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:
“Older people and those in clinical risk groups remain at highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
“The rollout of this year’s autumn booster begins in care homes today, with more eligible groups being invited to get protected over the coming weeks.
“The vaccine continues to provide the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19, so please make sure you get vaccinated when offered and encourage loved ones who are eligible to do the same.”
Last year, the NHS carried out its second biggest ever flu vaccination campaign, with more than 21 million flu vaccinations given to adults and children, while more than 17 million COVID-19 jabs were delivered last winter.
Earlier this year, NHS England announced more than 86 million covid vaccination appointments have been arranged using the NHS’s national online booking system since its launch two years ago.