A letter from NHS England on plans for implementing the COVID-19 booster campaign - following updated advice from the JCVI on 14 September - says vaccination sites should prepare 'to start vaccinating as soon as possible'.
Patients are expected to be able to begin booking booster jabs via the NHS national booking service from 20 September.
NHS England has advised local vaccination sites to 'consider prioritising those who are most at risk and those with the longest interval since the 2nd dose of their primary course' - including prioritising care home residents and staff.
Sites are also expected to continue to provide the 'evergreen offer' of vaccination for anyone eligible for a vaccine who has yet to come forward for a jab, alongside third-dose primary vaccination for immunocompromised patients and jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds.
The advice confirms advice from the JCVI that where possible COVID-19 booster doses should be offered at the same time as a seasonal flu jab - but warns that 'the COVID-19 booster vaccine programme should [not] disrupt or delay deployment of the annual influenza vaccination programme'.
Practices have been reminded that the preferred vaccine for use in the booster campaign is the Pfizer/BioNTech product, 'irrespective of which product was used in the primary schedule'.
The enhanced service for the COVID-19 vaccination programme is being updated to reflect updated JCVI advice, and practices have been told that once this is complete they 'may start vaccinating sooner than the 25 September if they are ready'.
PCNs will receive a £10 supplementary payment on top of the standard item of service fee for each jab delivered to a patient in the care home resident/staff cohort.
Additional funding will continue to be made available to support clinical director time within PCNs - although this will be reduced in the period from October 2021 to March 2022 compared with the previous six-month period. Clinical director time will be increased from 0.25 whole-time equivalent to 0.75 for this period.