Vaccination

NHS set September date for roll out of world’s first bivalent Covid vaccine

Following the approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the NHS are set to become the first health service in the world to roll out a next generation bivalent Covid-19 vaccine.

The roll out is scheduled to start to during the week commencing on the 5th of September, with the oldest and most vulnerable called forward for the vaccine first.

The National Booking Service will also open the week following the initial vaccine roll out, with people able to book online or via the Covid-dedicated 119 phoneline.

Up to 3,000 sites are expected to host the 26 million people that will be eligible for the autumn jab, as GP practices, community pharmacies, and others gear up for the launch.

Local sites are also being advised to allow immunosuppressed patients to volunteer for their vaccine first and attend walk-ins, ensuring the most vulnerable parts of the population are insulated as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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.

“Our fantastic NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to deliver 126 million doses to date and behind the scenes they have once again been preparing to deliver the latest phase with the same speed and precision as we have had throughout the rollout.

“When the time comes, I would strongly encourage anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, to do so as quickly as possible – it will give you maximum protection this winter.”

This autumn booster programme is part of a wider package of measures delivered by the NHS that are designed to prepare for the winter months that lie ahead, which is traditionally the health sector’s busiest period.

The NHS will also be running their annual flu campaign, encouraging people to protect themselves when possible. Those eligible for the booster may be offered the option of having their flu jab at the same time as their Covid one.

NHS Director for Vaccinations and Screening, Steve Russell, said: “This winter will be the first time we see the real effects of both Covid and flu in full circulation as we go about life as normal – and so it is vital that those most susceptible to serious illness from these viruses come forward for the latest jab in order to protect themselves.

“We know that our GPs and community pharmacies have been integral to the success of the NHS Vaccination Programme due to their locations and relationships with local communities, and so it is fantastic that so many have opted to be part of the latest phase of the campaign.

“The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get an autumn booster and will be inviting the first people outside of a care home to book in ahead of the formal rollout in early September – please book in as quickly as possible when invited to give yourself protection this winter.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and MHRA have stressed that, even in spite of this new roll out, the original vaccines still provide great protection from the virus and people should get jabbed irrespective of the version offered.

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