Covid booster ’enough to stop serious infection’ says expert
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Health teams will visit care homes and private homes to vaccinate around 1.6 million residents, staff and housebound people in the latest phase of the vaccine rollout, NHS England said. They expect to visit hundreds of care homes in the first week, with thousands more to follow. An additional four million people will be able to book their booster jabs from Wednesday, as well as health and social care staff who do not work in care homes.
Appointments will be available from the following week starting Monday September 12.
These include those who are at highest risk, such as the over-75s and those with weakened immune systems.
Letters inviting people to book their jabs will start landing on doormats next Wednesday and people are being asked to wait for their invites before booking an appointment.
In the coming weeks, the rollout will expand to include 26 million people across England, including the over-50s.
Some 3,100 sites are expected to be part of the drive, including GP practices and community pharmacies.
The new bivalent booster has been developed to target both the original strain of the virus and the Omicron variant.
The NHS does not expect supply to be an issue and all of those eligible are expected to receive the variant-busting jab.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “The NHS will begin vaccinating those who are most vulnerable to Covid from next week, with the Autumn campaign kicking off in care homes from Monday and four million more people will be invited to come forward later in the week.
“NHS staff are gearing up once again to deliver these vaccines at speed, rolling out jabs at more than 3,000 sites across England in order to provide the maximum protection ahead of winter.”
Health and social care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “An autumn booster will top up the immunity of those most vulnerable to Covid ahead of the winter to help us continue to live with this virus without restrictions.
“Please come forward for your booster and flu vaccine when invited.”
The NHS is calling for volunteers to help with the rollout over the coming winter months.
Steward volunteers help at vaccination sites with non-clinical tasks, including moving patients through the process and identifying people who require additional support.
Shifts are flexible across a variety of centres around England and can be booked with the GoodSAM mobile phone app.
Expenses are covered and no qualifications are required.
St John’s Ambulance is calling for 4,000 extra volunteer vaccinators to come forward.
This will help them respond to any additional peaks in demand over the winter.
A second, “bivalent” vaccine has today been approved as a booster by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
The updated booster vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech targeting two coronavirus variants has been approved for use in individuals aged 12 years and above. This decision has been endorsed by the Commission on Human Medicines, after a careful review of the evidence.
In each dose of the booster vaccine, ‘Comirnaty bivalent Original/Omicron’, half of the vaccine (15 micrograms) targets the original virus strain and the other half (15 micrograms) targets Omicron (BA.1).
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