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NHS delivers over one million COVID-19 vaccines in just one week

More than one million COVID-19 vaccines were given in a single week, NHS England has announced.

Recipients of the booster include care home residents form over a quarter of all care homes and those aged 65 and over. Chief Delivery Officer and National Director for Vaccinations and Screening for NHS England, Steve Russell, said ‘the NHS is once again pulling out all the stops to deliver life-saving vaccinations, with staff working hard across more vaccine sites than ever before to ensure as many eligible people as possible receive vital protection ahead of the winter months.’

Last winter, the NHS carried out its second largest flu vaccination campaign, delivering over 21 million flu vaccinations and 17 million covid jabs. This year’s NHS Winter Vaccination Programme aims to roll out even more, with over 20 million people entitled to a covid jab. Deputy Director for COVID-19 Vaccines and Epidemiology at UKHSA Gavin Dabrera noted that despite the early success of this year’s roll out ‘it remains important that everyone eligible for the vaccine comes forward’.

With the emergence of new COVID-19 variant (BA.2.86), the NHS vaccination programme follows the latest scientific advice in vaccine delivery. Despite the variant showing no evidence of more severe illness than previous variants, it may be more capable of causing infection in those who have received vaccines or previously had covid. As of 17 September, more than 2,800 patients in hospital had covid, up from July this year when only around 1,000 in hospital has the illness, making vaccinating the most vulnerable vital in preparing for the winter months. Steve Russell said, ‘Not only will these vaccinations protect you and your loved ones from getting sick this winter, but they will also help to protect the NHS.’

As well as all aged 65 and over and care home residents, those eligible for this year’s rollout includes frontline health and social care staff, anyone pregnant or that has an underlying health condition, unpaid carers, and household contacts of people with a weakened immune system. Last week, the NHS sent invitations to roughly 1.5 million eligible adults and more than 4.1 million people are due to be invited this week. Minster Maria Caulfield said, ‘I’m grateful to the hard-working staff delivering these life-saving jabs, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to help keep up the momentum by booking your Covid and flu vaccine and giving yourself maximum protection.’