Last reviewed 26 October 2021
NHS England has announced, here, that Covid-19 booster vaccines have been booked or delivered at 9 in 10 care homes in England.
People aged 50 years and over, NHS and social care workers and younger people at risk are now being offered a Covid-19 booster dose if they had their second Covid-19 vaccine at least six months ago.
In the update on the programme, which required GPs to prioritise offering Covid-19 booster vaccines to care home patients and staff by 1 November, NHS England said residents in more than half of care homes have now received their Covid-19 booster jab.
Around 6000 care homes have been visited, GPs are planning to visit a further 3700, and it is expected that all residents who had their second jab at least six months ago will have been offered their booster jab by 1 November.
In total, more than four million eligible people have had their Covid-19 booster vaccine in the last four weeks.
NHS Vaccination Programme Deputy Lead Dr Nikki Kanani said almost 90% of care homes have either already been visited or have a visit booked in for the coming days and weeks.
The announcement comes as care providers have been expressing concern that a slow delivery of Covid-19 booster vaccines to care home residents and staff risks a surge in new cases in their settings over the winter months.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) called on the Government to speed up the Covid-19 booster vaccine programme for care home residents and care workers to prevent putting their settings at risk “once again” this winter.
Recent data from NHS England have shown that a total of 3.7 million booster vaccines have been administered. However, many more people are still waiting for their third dose, with 4.8 million eligible people in England who had their second Covid-19 vaccine at least six months ago still waiting for a booster jab. This figure includes 3.3 million people aged over 60.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The rollout isn’t happening quickly enough and that is putting care settings at risk once again. Evidence shows that infection and death rates are rising again, and history shows that vulnerable people are going to be most at risk if Covid-19 takes a hold.”
Government figures have revealed hospital admissions have risen by 19% among people aged 65 to 84 years old and were up by 8% for people aged over 85 years old. Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’s (SAGE’s) Professor Neil Ferguson also told the BBC it was “critical” that the booster programme is “accelerated”.
In addition, the ICG is calling on Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid to postpone the imposition of compulsory vaccination for care staff, which is scheduled to come in November, saying the last thing the social care sector needs is another 40,000 vacancies if the Government persists with the “no jab, no job” rule.