NHS hits 10 million booster milestone

More than 10 million people in England have now had their autumn Covid-19 booster, new NHS figures show today.

The NHS has provided additional protection against Covid-19 to a total of 10,667,110 people with the new bivalent vaccine ahead of winter.

Bookings opened to everyone aged 50 and over to get their Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines just over a week ago.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have arranged their life-saving jabs quickly and easily online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or through the free 119 phone service.

Around 2.3 million people received their autumn booster last week alone with the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme delivering an average of two million covid jabs per week throughout October.

A record number of sites are delivering autumn boosters since the campaign began, while the flu jab is being offered at thousands of community pharmacies and GP surgeries across England.

Approximately 26 million people are eligible for an autumn Covid-19 booster, and 33 million people are eligible for a flu vaccine.

With health leaders warning of a ‘twindemic’ of the two illnesses this winter, the public are urged to come forward for their jabs – and from today reminders are going out to almost one million people aged 65 and over or at risk who are yet to receive their extra Covid dose to come forward without delay.

NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said: “Thanks to the incredible efforts of staff, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme has now delivered more than 10 million autumn boosters in less than two months, providing vital protection to those most susceptible to Covid-19 ahead of winter.

“We are continuing to invite and encourage everyone eligible who has yet to take up the offer of a covid booster or flu jab to come forward with the threat of a ‘twindemic’ from both viruses circulating this winter.

“If you have not yet been able to take up the offer, it has never been easier or more convenient to book your jabs with a record number of sites delivering covid jabs this year and the ability to book your flu vaccination on the National Booking Service as part of a pilot for the first time – please book in without delay”.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Dr Thomas Waite said: “As winter approaches we can expect to see both flu and covid cases rise, so it’s really encouraging to see more than 10 million people have already received their covid booster.

“Getting vaccinated against both viruses is the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting seriously ill. If you’re eligible, now is the time to come forward to top up your protection ahead of winter”.

The NHS is preparing for a challenging winter period, with further plans announced last week to boost capacity across the country.

Rapid response teams to help people who have fallen at home and 24/7 ‘care traffic control centres’ are among new NHS plans to manage demand during the busy period.

Frontline health and social care workers and those at higher risk due to a weakened immune system, a learning disability or pregnancy, as well as all over 65s became eligible last month – with others at risk also able to self-declare. Anyone eligible can book an appointment online or by calling 119.

The National Booking Service is also trialling for the first time the ability for people to book their flu vaccine online at around 300 participating sites.

The public can still book flu vaccinations as usual through their GP practice or by visiting one of the many thousands of participating community pharmacies.

For a full list of pharmacies offering a free NHS flu vaccination, including those not part of the NHS pilot, please visit the nhs.uk website.

Pharmacies are taking appointment bookings for flu vaccination online.