How to get an autumn COVID booster vaccine as NHS rolls out jabs for over-65s

Man getting COVID booster vaccine
Over-65s are now eligible for a COVID booster vaccine in England. (Getty Images)

People aged over 65 are being urged to book in for their COVID autumn booster vaccine as hospital admissions for the disease reach its highest rate since April this year.

Several groups, including over-65s, carers and frontline workers are now eligible for the autumn COVID booster jab that can provide protection against getting severely ill with COVID-19.

It comes as the number of hospital admissions of patients testing positive for COVID has reached 4.6 per 100,000 people. Last winter it reached 11.8 per 100,000 at its peak.

Read more: Free NHS flu vaccinations available at Boots as winter programme brought forward (Yahoo Life UK, 6-min read)

Intensive care admissions of patients with COVID remain low, but the vaccine rollout is set to protect vulnerable people against the new BA.2.86 variant.

A friendly, young, female carer visits an elderly male in his home. She has made them both a cup of tea and prepared him a snack. She perches beside him as he eats some cake and chats with her. They are comfortable with each other as she reaches in to touch him on the shoulder and they share a joke together.
Care home residents are at the top of the NHS vaccine priority list. (Getty Images)

"The new COVID variant presents a new risk, but NHS staff are rising to the challenge once more to do all they can to protect the public," Steve Russell, NHS director for vaccinations and screening, said in a statement.

"Vaccines are our best protection against flu and COVID-19, and I strongly encourage all eligible people to come forward for their life-saving winter vaccines as soon as they can."

Who is eligible for a COVID autumn booster vaccine?

In August, the government unveiled its autumn booster jab rollout plan, and listed several groups who were eligible for the vaccine. These include:

  • Residents in care homes

  • All adults aged 65 and over

  • People in a clinical risk group (people with chronic diseases)

  • Frontline health and social care workers

  • Household contacts of people with immunosuppression

  • Carers and staff working in care homes for older adults

  • Pregnant women

Read more: Differences between flu and COVID-19 symptoms as vaccine drive brought forward (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)

Doctor applies bandage to preteen girl's arm following an immunization
The vaccine can help protect against getting severely ill with COVID. (Getty Images)

How to book your COVID booster vaccination

Autumn booster vaccinations began in England on 11 September, which was earlier than planned as a precautionary measure against the new COVID variant.

The government said that people who received an autumn booster jab in 2022 were 53% less likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID in the two to four weeks after receiving the booster than those who did not receive one.

Read more: COVID-19 and flu autumn vaccination drive brought forward as new variant emerges in UK (Sky News, 2-min read)

If you are part of an eligible group, you will be invited by your local healthcare provider to book a vaccination which you can do either through the National Booking Service site or by calling 119.

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