Covid booster jabs will be available at walk-in clinics from today in a push to speed up the sluggish rollout of top-up doses before the winter.
Eligible patients will now be able to turn up for their injection instead of having to book an appointment, chiefs announced last night.
All over-50s can get a booster from six months after their second jab but they have previously had to wait for an invitation from their GP in order to arrange an appointment.
So far 6.7million people in England have had the booster, just over half of the 12.6million who are eligible
However, from today hundreds of walk-in sites across the country will offer boosters without the need to reserve a slot.
Individuals are advised to use the NHS online walk-in finder to check where their nearest centre is.
NHS England said almost everyone lives within ten miles of a fixed vaccination site.
Officials hope the move will drastically improve the slow take-up of the booster jabs to prevent the need for further lockdown restrictions.
Ministers have been under pressure to ‘turbo-charge’ the booster rollout to prevent another winter surge and further restrictions
Latest data shows that nearly six million eligible adults in England are yet to have their third dose.
This weekend Boris Johnson warned that those who have been double-jabbed should not be ‘over-confident about their level of immunity’.
The Prime Minister warned they risk becoming ‘seriously ill’ if they do not get their booster jab and that ‘people don’t quite realise the first two jabs start to wane’.
Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: ‘NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination.
From today people can now go online, https://www.academia.edu/s/e0f9503d97 find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay.
The booster is not just nice to have – it is really important protection ahead of what we know will be a challenging winter.
So if you are eligible, please do check the site finder and go get your jab.’
Eligible patients will now be able to turn up for their injection instead of having to book an appointment, NHS chiefs announced last night
Ministers have been under pressure to ‘turbo-charge’ the booster rollout to prevent another winter surge and further restrictions.
So far 6.7million people in England have had the booster, just over half of the 12.6million who are eligible.
Some 569,000 third doses were delivered this weekend in England.
The Prime Minister has insisted there is currently no reason to activate the Government’s Covid Plan B, which would involve compulsory face masks, vaccine passports and working from home.
Latest data shows cases are continuing to fall, with another 38,009 recorded yesterday.There were another 74 deaths.
Officials are increasingly confident that the surge linked with the return of schools in September has peaked.
But they warn that there could still be another wave this winter and that boosters are vital in preventing this.
Mr Johnson has previously suggested he is in favour of cutting the gap at which people become eligible for boosters down to five months to speed up the rollout.
Expert advisers on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are considering this move, which has been backed by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
On Friday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the most vulnerable patients will become eligible for boosters from five months after their second jab.
Rules will become more flexible so that the most at-risk patients, such as those in care homes, can receive top-up doses earlier.