NHS England has asked GPs to run searches for immunosuppressed patients who have yet to have their ‘spring’ Covid booster jab.
It said this formed part of additional ‘urgent steps’ needed, alongside asking GPs to send invites to those who have not yet had a fourth dose, and discussing vaccination and booking appointments with eligible patients during routine clinical care.
A PRIMIS search developed by the UK Health Security Agency and now available in GP IT systems should be used to identify patients, NHS England said in a letter.
As it is not possible to run a national search for eligible individuals, the letter said, NHS England needs GP practices to help find those who have not yet had the spring booster.
But the search is a non-exhaustive list and local searches may also be needed to find additional people not listed due to issues with coding, it said.
If they have not already done so, practices should contact those identified by the search function or local searches of their registered list to offer the booster jab by 27 June.
Practices that have not signed up to the Covid-19 vaccination enhanced service should share a list of eligible patients identified through the searches with the CCG by 23 June, the letter added.
Last month the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended another autumn booster vaccine for some at-risk groups and frontline health and social care workers.
Under interim guidance, the JCVI said this would include the over 65s and those 64 and under but in a clinical risk group.
The letter, which thanked GPs and their teams for their support in vaccination, also said the current immunosuppressed cohort list is scheduled to be updated by 17 June.
It comes as the latest surveillance data from the UK Health Security Agency suggest Covid-19 activity is increasing nationally.
In addition to rising numbers of outbreaks and positive tests through pillar one laboratory surveillance, the hospital admission rate for Covid-19 has increased to 6.10 per 100,000 population compared with 4.65 in the previous week.
Hospital admission rates for remain highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.70 per 100,000 population, the UKHSA said.
Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: ‘After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.
‘It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.’
She urged anyone not up to date with their vaccines to come forward now.