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HomeUK NewsFirst Covid booster vaccines given to NHS staff

First Covid booster vaccines given to NHS staff

The first Covid booster vaccines have been given to NHS staff in England and Wales as part of plans to extend protection for millions this winter

Covid booster shots will be offered to the over 50s, healthcare workers, and younger adults with certain health conditions.

Those eligible should receive a booster at least six months after their second dose.

One dose of Pfizer or half a dose of Moderna is recommended and people will be contacted when it’s their turn.

But many people with severely weakened immune systems, who have been told they need a third dose to top up their primary protection, are still waiting to be invited.

NHS England said all those eligible, including people with blood cancer or organ donor recipients, would be contacted soon and stressed that the timing of the third dose was crucial.

Hospital hubs in England and Wales can now start vaccinating frontline healthcare workers with boosters, although most will not be ready to do so until next week.

This comes after all over 50s are set to be offered another booster jab of the vaccine by Christmas as part of the government’s plans to tackle the virus. A national rollout of a Covid-19 booster jab is expected to be announced later as part of Boris Johnson’s ambitious winter plans to tackle the virus.

Some care homes are starting the rollout on Thursday in England, this weekend in Wales and in Scotland on Monday. Northern Ireland begins its booster programme later this month.

Catherine Cargill, a maternity support worker and student at Croydon University Hospital, was one of the first to receive a booster jab.

“I’m excited, I’ve been waiting for this,” she said.

“So far I haven’t caught Covid and I want to keep it that way. But also with the vaccine, if I was to get Covid, I wouldn’t be seriously ill.”

Dr Chris Blakeley, an A&E consultant, says he’s seeing rising numbers of Covid patients and it’s likely his immunity is waning after receiving his first vaccine dose back in December.

“The booster gives us increasing confidence on a daily basis,” he said.

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The government’s vaccine advisors said protection from the first two doses of all Covid vaccines showed early signs of dipping, and that the most vulnerable groups were particularly at risk.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said a booster programme, to run alongside a flu vaccine rollout, was a precautionary approach to ensure these groups maintained high levels of protection.

Care home residents, who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the virus, will be offered a vaccine before the start of November in England.

Around 4.5 million people in priority groups will be eligible for a booster over the coming weeks, NHS England says, with a further 25 million to be contacted in due course. Pharmacies, GP practices and local vaccination centres will start offering boosters in the coming days.

This comes after children aged 12-15 should be offered a COVID vaccine, the UK’s chief medical officers (CMOs) have decided. The move means around three million children aged 12-15 could be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, which is expected to be administered through schools.

People will get a call or text from their local GP-led site to get the jab or be invited by the National Booking Service, which will start issuing invitations early next week.

Some people who were in the original nine priority groups will not be invited for a booster until the new year.

Meanwhile, care home providers say they are concerned that a deadline for all care home staff in England to have their first vaccine against Covid by 11 November could force care homes to close if staff decide not to comply.

On Monday, the UK’s four chief medical officers recommended that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine be offered to all healthy 12-15 year olds, and the rollout is planned to start in schools next week.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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