Half the population in England will get dual Covid jab by December

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The autumn booster campaign will begin on September 5 with visits to care home residents and people who are housebound. Bookings will also open during that week for over-75s and those most vulnerable to severe illness. A wider rollout will kick off on September 12.

Only one type of vaccine is expected to be deployed: the new bivalent jab which targets both the original strain and the Omicron BA.1 variant. The drive will begin using the new Moderna shot after it was approved by regulators this week.

The UK also has a contract for Pfizer’s updated vaccine, which could be deployed if and when it is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to deliver a Covid-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials, and will now be the first to deliver the new, variant-busting vaccine when the rollout begins at the start of September.

“Our fantastic NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to deliver 126 million doses to date and behind the scenes they have once again been preparing to deliver the latest phase with the same speed and precision as we have had throughout the rollout.

“When the time comes, I would strongly encourage anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, to do so as quickly as possible – it will give you maximum protection this winter.”

The rollout will follow a similar pattern to previous drives, starting with over-75s and then moving down age groups until all over-50s are eligible.

Health chiefs are preparing for possibility of a bad flu season, based on trends in the southern hemisphere.

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