All 16 and 17-year-olds and at-risk 12 to 15-year-olds have been made eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster vaccine from today (17 January), NHS England has confirmed.
Invitations will be sent out this week to around 40,000 16 and 17-year-olds who received their second dose at least three months ago.
Around 500 12 to 15-year-olds who are clinically vulnerable, or those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will also be invited to receive their third dose.
Children will need to confirm eligibility with an invitation letter from the NHS or their GP or hospital consultant, with GP-led teams now being instructed to contact those eligible.
Since the vaccine programme was first extended to the group in August, 889,700 or seven-in-10 people aged 16 and 17 have had their first dose, while more than 600,000 have had their second.
Maggie Throup, vaccines minister, thanked NHS staff for their ‘tireless dedication’ which has made the booster programme ‘a phenomenal success’.
Meanwhile, Nick Hulme, NHS vaccination programme lead for 12 to 15-year-olds, said that it was ‘vital’ that the youngest people at risk get their booster as soon as ‘possible’.
As of yesterday (16 January), 36,388,391 booster doses had been administered, with 136,392,116 Covid vaccines given in total.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there is ‘no immediate need’ to introduce a second booster dose, but that the ‘timing and need’ will continue to be reviewed.
Recent data also revealed that GP practices maintained a record level of flu uptake among over-65s last year, while continuing to deliver the Covid programme.