BLMK Begins Rollout of Variant Busting Booster Jab

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Home » BLMK Begins Rollout of Variant Busting Booster Jab

The NHS has become the first healthcare system in the world to use the next generation, updated COVID vaccines as it kickstarts the autumn booster rollout this September.

Following the updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the NHS in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is now undertaking the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme to ensure the local population is protected as the region heads into winter.

Starting this week, local NHS staff began vaccinating care home residents and people who are housebound as part of the largest and fastest vaccine drive in health service history.

The National Booking Service opened this week ahead of the wider rollout, due to start on the 12 September, with the NHS inviting those who are most susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19 and those aged 75 and over to book an appointment from that week.

The NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book in for the vaccine – you do not need to contact the NHS.

Extensive planning for the rollout has already taken place and local areas have already booked adult care home residents in for their vaccine to ensure they can get protected at the earliest opportunity.

As with previous campaigns, the oldest and most vulnerable will be called forward first, with people able to book online or through 119, as long as it has been at least three months since their last dose.

Updated versions of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna and Pfizer targeting new coronavirus variants (known as a “bivalent” vaccine) have been approved for booster doses by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Around 26 million people across England will be eligible for an autumn booster in line with guidance set out by the JCVI.

Across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes vaccination sites include GP practices, community pharmacies and large vaccination centres as well as outreach sessions.

Craig Lister, Associate Director and the COVID and Flu immunisation and vaccination strategy lead for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board said:

“When the time comes, I 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.

“Our local NHS are offering people the new next generation of bivalent vaccines.  These new vaccines are the best way to protect against serious illness and will help protect the NHS this coming winter.

“The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get an autumn booster and we 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.”

Eligible individuals may be offered the flu and COVID jab at the same time, as the vaccines have been approved to be co-administered.

Health and social care staff will also be eligible to get the autumn booster in line with JCVI guidance to ensure front-line 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.

Vicky Head, Director of Public Health for Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Councils, said:

“Thanks to vaccination, COVID-19 is now having less impact on our lives, but it is still very much with us.  It’s really important that we boost our defences as we go into the winter to keep the ongoing impact as low as possible.  I’d urge everyone eligible for a new and updated booster vaccination to take up that offer, even if you know you’ve had COVID-19 before.  The new vaccine is a better match to the variants that are circulating now and will help prevent serious illness and the disruption that causes and will save lives.”

Sally Cartwright, Director of Public Health for Luton, added:

“While many people might think that COVID is over, it is not and is still very much with us!  We know that having the autumn booster is the very best defence and protection to tackle this disease.

“As we now move towards winter, it is vitally important that we continue to all do what we can to keep Luton safe, slow the spread of the virus and protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and are at risk of becoming seriously ill.”

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