NHS leaders prepare to give out millions of Covid booster vaccines in September: ‘We’ll be ready’

NHS leaders say they will “roll up their sleeves” and be ready for next month’s Covid booster roll-out campaign which will help ease pressure over winter.

While recent drops in Covid infections and hospital admissions are encouraging, the virus can still cause serious illness and is still leading to thousands of NHS staff absences, trust leaders have warned.

Miriam Deakin, interim deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “Vital Covid-19 boosters and flu jabs this autumn will reduce the risk of serious illness which would heap more pressure on an overstretched NHS.

“As they have done before, hard-working NHS staff will roll up their sleeves to make another mass vaccination programme a success while they continue to work flat out to bring down waiting lists and treat patients as quickly as possible in the face of ever-growing demand.”

Ms Deakin said trust leaders are staying vigilant about the need to protect vulnerable patients, and realistic about the impact of potential waves of Covid-19 and flu this winter.

She added: “Existing pressures and workloads are making it feel like the middle of a very tough winter already across much of the NHS, especially in busy A&E departments and as the NHS strives to bear down on care backlogs.

“Health services will be focused on how best to reach and support people who may have doubts about getting this important booster protection.”

GPs called on NHS England and the Government to “urgently review” plans for the autumn Covid booster campaign amid fears they will be left paying for the programme out of their own pockets.

The default contract for delivering vaccines this autumn has been cut from £12.58 per dose to £10.06, while a £10 supplement for them to give jabs in care homes and to other vulnerable groups has also been cut. Doctors’ Association UK has said it fears that with rising energy and staffing costs, GPs will have to help fund the rollout from their own pockets.

News of the latest booster campaign comes as research shows the national Covid vaccination programme has helped narrow the gap in mortality rates between advantaged and disadvantaged areas, even though vaccine take-up was lower for socioeconomically deprived groups.

According to a new report published by King’s College London’s Business School, the vaccination programme has levelled out the unequal mortality rate of Covid-19 seen during the pandemic for people living in more deprived parts of England.

The research suggests that if the vaccination programme had targeted specific socioeconomic groups who are known to be at higher risk of dying – including low-income individuals and people of Black or Asian ethnicity – then the levelling effect could have been even more powerful.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “While our world-leading Covid vaccination programme has saved countless lives and enabled us to live with this virus, we cannot be complacent about the threat it poses this winter.

“As we head into autumn, we want to make sure the most vulnerable have the best possible defence, which is why we are launching our next Covid booster programme on 5 September. Those eligible will be able to book appointments in advance and we’ll be starting with care homes first, so those at greatest risk from severe Covid are prioritised.

“Vaccines offer the best defence against the virus and will help relieve pressure on the NHS at its most difficult time of year, so I encourage all those eligible to come forward as soon as they are contacted by the NHS.”


About the author

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *