Nurses will be offered a flu vaccination alongside a Covid-19 booster jab this autumn where possible, NHS England has said as it outlined details of the latest stage of the coronavirus vaccination programme.
The autumn Covid-19 vaccination booster programme is to start in the week beginning 5 September, with care home residents and housebound people being given the jab by NHS staff.
The National Booking Service will also open that week, allowing people aged over 75 and the most clinically vulnerable, to book a vaccination from 12 September.
Individuals will be offered the new bivalent Moderna vaccine, which targets the original Covid-19 virus strain and the omicron variant, “where appropriate and subject to sufficient supply”.
In outlining the latest details of the autumn vaccination programme, NHS England said that health and social care staff will be eligible to get the autumn booster following JCVI guidance, adding that “in order to ensure NHS staff are protected, all providers are being asked to ensure their staff are offered the autumn jab, co-administering with the flu jab where 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.”
Ruth Rankine, director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said the sector would ensure the booster programme ran smoothly, but added: “We shouldn’t underestimate the additional work involved and must acknowledge the time and investment it will take to deliver alongside the flu vaccination programme.
“This is as well as meeting increasing demand for services which has felt like winter already and managing patients waiting for secondary care.”
She added that a “fully resourced workforce plan” was needed to resolve “chronic staff shortages” across the health service.
Around 26 million people in England will be eligible for an autumn booster, in line with guidance set out the by the JCVI, and up to 3,000 vaccination sites are expected to provide the jabs.