Covid: Care homes and housebound get booster shots in England
By Michelle Roberts
Digital health editor
The NHS is starting to give booster shots of Covid and flu vaccine to older people living in care homes in England over concerns about a highly-mutated new Covid variant that is spreading.
The faster-than-planned rollout, which begins on Monday, is to quickly top up the protection of those at most risk.
There have been 34 confirmed cases of BA.2.86 in England, with 28 of those behind a Norfolk care home outbreak.
It is too early to know if it is more serious than past variants.
Starting with adult care homes and people who are housebound, other eligible groups will begin to be invited for their shots soon afterwards.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also brought forward the booster rollout to early September.
People who can have a Covid booster include:
- residents in a care home for older adults
- all adults aged 65 years and over
- people aged six months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- frontline health and social care workers
- people aged 12 to 64 who are household contacts of people with weakened immune systems
- people aged 16 to 64 who are carers, and staff working in care homes for older adults
Last autumn, all over-50s were offered an extra dose, but the government's advisers on vaccines recommended that only over-65s should automatically be included this year.