6. The COVID-19 Booster Programme
On 14 September 2021, the JCVI published guidance recommending a COVID-19 booster vaccination programme to maintain a high level of protection against severe COVID-19 disease, specifically hospitalisation and deaths, through the coming winter. The JCVI's primary objectives for a booster programme are to protect those adults who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 and to protect the NHS.
People who received their COVID-19 vaccination during Phase 1, priority groups 1-9, of the COVID-19 vaccination programme will be eligible for a COVID-19 booster. This includes:
- Those living in residential care homes for older adults;
- All adults aged 50 years or over;
- Frontline health and social care workers;
- All those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the Green Book), and adult carers; and
- Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
The COVID-19 booster vaccine dose will be offered at least six months after a second dose, and will be delivered alongside seasonal flu where it is appropriate to do so.
Care Homes and housebound patients vaccinations commenced from 20 September 2021. Letters will be issued inviting people in prioritised groups 1-4 to a scheduled appointment at clinics from week commencing the start of October. Frontline health and social care workers can book their appointment via our online portal which went live on 21 September 2021, and this allows these staff greater flexibility to manage their appointment. Priority groups 5-9 will be able to book online from late October or via the national phone line; and for those that do not come forward via these routes, we will send a letter at a further date.
The booster programme will run alongside our biggest ever seasonal flu vaccination programme. The JCVI is clear that both of these programmes are important for individual and public health and the booster programme is not intended to disrupt the deployment of the seasonal flu programme, so wherever possible people will be offered the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine together.
Further information on COVID-19 booster vaccinations is available on NHS Inform.