5 million people eligible for spring Covid boosters in England

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Wednesday 5th April 2023

NHS England is inviting millions of people to come forward for a spring Covid booster vaccine as part of the next phase of the vaccine rollout. Spring boosters will be available for around five million people in England, including over 75s, care home residents and people who have a weakened immune system. The spring programme will launch on April 5th and run until the end of June.

NHS England is encouraging those who are eligible to book an appointment. People who are entitled to a booster dose will receive an invitation via the NHS app or by email or text message. There will be thousands of sites across England delivering boosters, with most patients able to visit their GP surgery or a local pharmacy to have their injection. 

Although most people develop mild symptoms when they contract Covid-19, data shows that older people and those with underlying health conditions that impact immunity are more susceptible to severe infection. Symptoms can be hugely debilitating, resulting in the need for hospital treatment. 

The latest phase of the vaccine rollout has been introduced on the back of advice issued by the JCVI, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. The JCVI recommends a spring booster dose for the most vulnerable in society to enhance protection and reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths from Covid. The first vaccines will be delivered to older care home residents from April 5th. Appointments for later in the month will be made available on the same day for other people who are eligible for the vaccine, including over 75s and younger people who have compromised immunity. Anyone who is turning 75 between April and June 2023 will be able to have the vaccine without waiting for their birthday. 

NHS England representatives are encouraging anyone who is invited to make an appointment for a booster vaccine to take up the offer as a means of protecting themselves against the virus. 
Covid rates have traditionally fallen during the spring and summer months in previous years but there are still risks. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics, which was published on March 13th 2023, showed that around 1 in 40 people had Covid in England. NHS data shows that there are currently approximately 8,000 people in hospital in England with Covid. 

Research indicates that vaccines help to lower the risk of severe symptoms significantly, reducing hospitalisation rates and deaths. At this stage, when many people have already had Covid and most of the adult population has been vaccinated, the booster programme is focusing on the most vulnerable. Around 5 million people in England will be eligible for the vaccine this spring. 

Common symptoms of Covid include a new, persistent cough, a high temperature, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, a reduced sense of taste and/or smell and muscle aches. Severe infection can cause breathing difficulties and a very high fever. Most people who have Covid will recover without the need for medical intervention or by using over the counter medication. Some people will need treatment in hospital, which may include intensive care treatment in the most serious cases. 

Patients who are entitled to a free Covid booster vaccine will be notified in the coming days and weeks and they can book appointments online. More details about the spring booster programme are available on the NHS website and patients who think they may be eligible can also seek advice from their GP or pharmacist if they don’t receive an invitation in the next few weeks. Appointments will be available until June. The booster vaccines in use include Pfizer, Moderna and Sanofi.