More than two million autumn boosters have been administered in the first fortnight of the autumn Covid vaccine booster campaign, NHS England has said.
It comes as Covid infection are now on the rise again for the first time since July, according to the latest ONS data.
Since launching two weeks ago, 2.1 million Covid boosters have been given to patients with 1.35 million of those in the past week, figures show.
Another 1.7 million patients are booked to have their jab in the next month, as NHS leaders urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu ahead of this winter.
Currently booster jabs are open to NHS and social care workers, people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and others at greater risk from the virus as well as all over-65s.
Care homes are also a priority with GPs incentivised to deliver ‘accelerated’ autumn Covid boosters with payments of up to £525 per completed care home.
The BMA had warned that payment to GPs for delivery of vaccines had dropped 20% since last year’s rollout while the costs for GP practices increased.
Under recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended around 26 million people are eligible for a booster, including the over-50s.
In August, the UK medicines regulator approved Moderna’s updated bivalent vaccine – which protects against Omicron – and the Government confirmed it would be the main jab used in the autumn campaign. Pfizer has since also added a bivalent vaccine.
Appointments are being offered at 3,100 locations, including 1,680 community pharmacies and 200 walk-in sites, the NHS said.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening, Steve Russell, said the booster programme was off to a flying start but with experts warning that Covid and flu could combine in a ‘twindemic’ there was no room for complacency.
‘We are still seeing hundreds of patients with Covid being admitted to hospital every day and getting an autumn booster could save your life.’
Public health and mental health minister Dr Caroline Johnson said it was a very encouraging start and thanked NHS staff for their continued hard work.
‘We know Covid and flu will be circulating at the same time this winter, so it is vital all those eligible continue to come forward for both jabs as we ensure to protect our most vulnerable.’