England began a second round of vaccinations on Monday with the new COVID-19 vaccines, with the 1.6 million people eligible for booster doses among the first in the world to receive them.
The eligible are care home residents and staff as well as those who are housebound.
Next week, people age 75 and over and those with weakened immune systems will also be eligible for the newest vaccines too.
The new bivalent vaccines protect against both the original COVID-19 virus as well as the omicron variant.
National Health Service chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “While we know that this winter will be challenging with a likely resurgence in both COVID and flu for the first time since before the pandemic, the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones from serious illness is to get the newly approved, next generation COVID vaccine when invited to do so, as well as your annual flu jab, to ensure you have maximum protection.”
Britain’s beleaguered National Health Service is struggling to cope with record demand as a consequence of backlogs caused by the pandemic as well as long-term funding issues.
The booster campaign is part of a series of measures to reduce pressure on the National Health Service ahead of winter, when the system is under the most pressure.