Millions of eligible people across England have come forward for their Covid autumn booster, giving them the protection they need from serious illness and helping to ease pressure on the NHS.
The Covid autumn booster programme – which started on 5th September 2022 and ended on 12th February 2023 – saw 17.46 million jabs given to eligible people including those aged 50 and over, residents in care homes, people aged 5 and over in an at risk group, and health and social care staff.
Tens of thousands of people responded to the call from the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, and NHSE England before the programme ended, with 74,692 people getting jabbed in the final week – almost double the 40,947 jabs administered in the previous seven days.
Overall, 64.9% of people aged 50 and over took up the offer of an autumn booster. Take up was highest among the 75 to under 80s (82.8%), over 80s (82.7%), and 70 to under 75s (79.2%).
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
Our phenomenal Covid vaccination programme has helped us to live with the virus, protected the most vulnerable from serious illness, and reduced hospital admissions.
Millions of eligible people came forward for their autumn booster, rolled up their sleeves and got their immunity topped up.
I want to thank everyone who came forward for their jab, and for playing their part in reducing pressure on the NHS and helping to clear the Covid backlogs.
The latest data shows 20.9 million eligible people have had their flu jab, but take up is low among pregnant women and children aged two and three.
Eligible people – including pregnant women, young children, and those with an underlying health condition – have till 31st March to come forward for their flu jab.
Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said:
Our ability to combat Covid and flu this winter has been dramatically improved by the incredible efforts of a whole legion of professionals who continue to get these important vaccines to those who need them – from our local authority public health teams, our experts in UKHSA and MHRA and our front-line NHS staff.
Millions of people answered our call and came forward to protect themselves and their loved ones against these serious illnesses.
Vaccines save lives and there is no doubt that this mammoth effort has helped prevent many people from ending up seriously ill in hospital. We are thankful to everyone who took part.
The UKHSA’s flu data published on Thursday shows flu levels continue to fall sharply and they advise people not to pass it on by staying at home if they’re unwell, and not visiting vulnerable people.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening, Steve Russell, said:
The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme has once again delivered life-saving protection to millions of people across England and it is fantastic that more than 17 million people received a booster jab this winter, helping to keep themselves and their loved ones out of hospital.
The fastest and largest vaccine drive in health service history has now delivered almost 145 million Covid vaccinations in just over two years since the programme began and I would like to thank the NHS staff, volunteers and local government and partners who have made this possible – we will be ready again to stand up future campaigns to protect our communities when given the green light.