Over half a million people protected from COVID in first weeks of Autumn Booster campaign

Almost 550,000 people in the Midlands have already received their autumn booster dose just two weeks into the NHS’s latest campaign against COVID-19. This includes people aged 65 and over, the severely immunosuppressed and frontline health and care workers.

So far, over 329,000 autumn booster appointments in the East Midlands and over 296,000 appointments in the West Midlands have been booked since 12 September. Many more people are getting their vaccinations through Walk-in Clinics.

Everyone who takes up the booster vaccine this autumn will increase their protection ahead of the winter months when respiratory viruses are typically at their peak.

Cases of COVID are rising in the community with the return to school and cooler weather helping to spread the virus. Latest figures show that there are over 1,000 patients with COVID-19 in the region’s hospitals with 2,807 cases of COVID-19 in the East Midlands and 2,847 cases in the West Midlands having been reported in the 7 days up to 17 September.

There are more than 260 sites in the East Midlands and 348 sites in the West Midlands that are now offering COVID boosters – mainly community pharmacies and GP premises as well as a few bigger centres – so it should be more convenient than ever for people to get their vaccinations.

The NHS is also rolling out this year’s flu vaccine, with eligible people able to get their flu and COVID jab at the same time depending on local system arrangements.

Roz Lindridge, the NHS England director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said:

“We are delighted that our autumn booster campaign has got off to such a strong start with over half a million people benefiting from the vital protection that the autumn booster provides.

“It’s so important that everyone who is eligible comes forward as soon as possible when it’s their turn for extra protection ahead of winter – when viruses circulate most and can cause greatest harm.

“The autumn booster will top up the immunity of those most vulnerable to COVID ahead of winter to help us all continue to live with this virus without restrictions.”

Around 2.35 million people in the East Midlands and around 2.79 million people in the West Midlands will be eligible for the autumn booster. Those eligible over the coming weeks, include over 50s, those with a weakened immune system and housebound people and pregnant women, in line with guidance set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

People can book their autumn COVID booster through the national booking system or by calling 119.

The NHS COVID vaccine service is also now offering appointments to carers and pregnant women, with bookings able to be made online or over the phone.

Two vaccines have been approved that can be used as boosters this autumn and winter – one from Moderna and the second from Pfizer. Both have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to target both the original and Omicron strains of the virus.

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