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Just 48 hours after Government advisers recommended a third jab for 30 million people, hospital hubs started dishing them out to frontline healthcare workers and identifying eligible patients.
GP-led sites will follow in the coming days before the rollout begins in full next week, with vaccination centres and pharmacies joining the drive. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “With every jab our wall of defence across the country gets higher.
“It is brilliant to see that the first booster jabs are being rolled out – thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the NHS who continue to work tirelessly to help us fight Covid-19 and protect the most vulnerable.
“I urge everyone who is eligible to come forward for their booster when invited, to prolong the protection that the vaccine offers those most at risk as we approach the winter months.” Public Health England estimates that vaccines have prevented up to 116,200 deaths. Around 25 million infections and 230,800 hospital admissions have also been avoided.
Those eligible for a booster jab include older people living in residential care homes and all adults aged 50 or over.
People aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk also qualify, as do adult carers and adults who live with immunosuppressed individuals. They are being told not to contact the NHS as they will be invited to have their third jab after at least six months have passed from the date of their second dose.
The six-month gap is thought to generate longer-lasting protection.
Since the program began last December, the NHS has delivered 77 million vaccinations, with four in five adults having already received their first two doses.
First doses will be offered to children aged 12 to 15 in schools from next week.
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