6 September 2022

COVID-19 booster vaccine offered to optical staff

The optical sector has confirmed that frontline healthcare workers throughout the UK will be offered the COVID-19 booster vaccination this autumn. This includes optical staff working in primary eye care settings.

At this stage, please note the following information available for the four UK nations following the booster programme update by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI):

  • England: The booster rollout starts week beginning 5 September when highest risk groups – e.g. people who are housebound – will be prioritised. The National Booking Service will open and take bookings from 12 September onwards for people aged 75 and older (NHS England). At this stage we expect frontline healthcare workers to be called after this initial cohort but at this stage please wait for further updates from the NHS. Around 3,100 sites are planned to be made available including GP practices and pharmacies. The program will be expanded by October to include 26 million people, with all over-50s invited to participate. 
  • Northern Ireland: The booster rollout starts on 19 September using GPs, pharmacists and Trusts. Pharmacies will be able to offer frontline optical teams the jab once the rollout starts. (HSCB).
  • Scotland: The booster rollout is scheduled to start in early September, with healthcare workers expected to be prioritised early on. Exact details are pending (Scottish Government).
  • Wales: The booster rollout starts this week, starting with highest risk groups. Details on when healthcare workers will be able to access a jab are to be confirmed (Welsh Government).

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

As society continues to open up, the Optometry in Practice editorial board thought it opportune to reflect on the experiences of the pandemic to date and assess the impact on both eyecare professionals and our patients.

It is rare for respiratory viruses to cause eye infections, writes Kim Thomas, but they may use the eye as a portal of entry. And what is the mechanism behind their travel to the respiratory system?

How do clinicians choose between generic and branded drugs, balancing the need for patient safety against cost? Kathy Oxtoby takes a look.