More than 30m people to receive booster Covid jabs, starting next month
More than 30 million people will be offered booster vaccinations starting from September, according to the Telegraph.
MPs have been briefed by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi on the plan to offer 2.5m doses a week in the run up to winter.
The government has said full details of the booster scheme will be announced “in due course”.
The booster rollout could begin in the first week of September, with the aim of vaccinating 32 million people, including all adults aged 50 or over and the immuno-suppressed.
Booster jabs could be given alongside the flu vaccine, with a government source telling the Telegraph that the plan “wherever possible” is for people to receive one injection in each arm.
The programme will aim to vaccinate 2.46million people every week for around three months, with hopes it will help protect the most vulnerable during winter.
Up to 2000 pharmacies will be involved in the rollout, in an effort to allow NHS staff and GPs to concentrate on growing treatment backlogs.
Thorrun Govind, chairwoman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, said: “Pharmacists across the NHS have played a critical role in leading the successful implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“We’d like to see widespread involvement of community pharmacy in delivering the Covid booster jab and flu jab together, depending on JCVI recommendations.
“Pharmacy has a strong track record of delivery of vaccination programmes, with over 2.7 million flu vaccinations provided last season, and with more than 600 sites delivering Covid-19 vaccinations currently.”
Government is 'preparing for a booster programme'
It is not yet clear which vaccines will be used for the booster programme, although there have been a number of trials ongoing.
There have been reports that people could be given a different dose for the booster shot to what they received initially, as some trials have shown this could lead to greater protection.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The Government is preparing for a booster programme and JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) have published interim advice on who to prioritise for a possible third vaccine from September 2021.
“The booster programme – which would ensure millions of people most vulnerable to Covid-19 will have the protection they have from first and second doses maintained ahead of the winter and against new variants – will be informed by the JCVI’s final advice.”