Spring booster vaccines will begin in Lancashire and South Cumbria this week as the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in NHS history moves to the next phase.

In line with new advice set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme will now invite thousands of eligible people in the region to come forward for their fourth dose, around six months after they had their booster jab.

People will be able to book their appointment in a number of ways – either through the national booking service, by calling 119 or walking in at any vaccine site. Anyone who is unable to use any of these usual options will be able to book a vaccine at home by calling 0300 790 6856 between 10am and 8pm daily.

Eligible groups for spring boosters include care home residents, people who are 75 and over and those who are immunosuppressed aged 12 over.

From today (Monday 21 March), local NHS teams will also hold vaccine clinics in care homes, with more visits planned in the coming weeks.

Local NHS teams will continue delivering vaccinations as well as hundreds of pharmacies and hospital hubs.

During the latest phase of the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in health history around 5.2 million people will be able to get spring dose as part of the NHS’ campaign – with a smaller number eligible from this week.

Research by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) estimates since mid-December some 157,000 hospitalisations have been prevented by booster doses.

Jane Scattergood, lead for the OVID-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “The NHS is continuing to protect the most vulnerable from the virus as the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme began today.

“With COVID-19 still circulating, I’d like to encourage everyone eligible to come forward and make sure your protection is topped up. Anyone over 75 can come forward, around six months since their last vaccination, and book online, walk-in to one of our vaccination centres or call us to request vaccine at home. We continue to welcome people of any age who have never had a vaccine or who still need their second dose.”

Eligible adults will be offered either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, with any eligible people aged between 12 and 18 getting offered the Pfizer vaccine.