The Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme so that it is set to mobilise and start offering vaccinations as soon as one becomes available.
While it isn’t yet certain when COVID-19 vaccine will be available, we are working hard and busy preparing to ensure we are ready to offer it when it is.
NHS planning is based on the latest information on the vaccine development including which groups will be the priority to get vaccinated early in the programme. This might mean that smaller numbers of people – who have been prioritised as the most vulnerable – will be vaccinated first, with larger number of eligible people being offered later in the new year, dependent on COVID-19 vaccine availability. The NHS will follow clinical guidance by Department of Health and Social Care and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritised people eligible for COVID-19 vaccine and therefore plan for vaccine rollout accordingly.
Plans will be finalised when we have certainty on when and what vaccines will be approved and available for use. Further details and timeframes will be shared shortly.
In the meantime, we are encouraging people to have their flu vaccination as soon as possible in preparation for this winter. As well as protecting yourself against the flu virus, you are also protecting family and friends.
Who will get the vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have recently published interim updated advice on the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccine, advising that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people aged over 80 and health and social workers, before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.
The JCVI will continue to update this advice as more information becomes available on vaccine effectiveness, safety and clinical characteristics. This will in turn be reflected in the NHS’s plans.