Hundreds of thousands of people will be invited to book a spring Covid booster this week as the NHS vaccination programme enters a new phase.

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

In line with new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme will contact people when it is their turn to be vaccinated.

Once invited by the NHS, people will be able to book their appointment through the National Booking System, either online or by calling NHS 119.

Around 600,000 people will be invited to book this week. In addition, local NHS teams will also offer vaccinations in care homes, with hundreds more visits planned in the coming weeks.

In all, around five million people will be able to get a spring booster dose.

Announcing the spring rollout, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme has not stopped in its efforts to protect people from coronavirus – around five million of the most vulnerable people will be eligible for a spring dose and from tomorrow, we will start giving eligible groups their additional top up in protection.

“We have protected millions of people at speed thanks to the efforts of our staff, aided by volunteers. They will once again rise to the next challenge.

“There is no need to contact the NHS – when you are eligible for your ‘spring boost’ of protection, we will be in touch so you can book your appointment at one of hundreds of vaccination sites across the country.”

Research by the UK Health Security Agency estimates that since mid-December 157,000 hospitalisations have been prevented by booster doses.

Since the first vaccination was given in December 2020, NHS staff and volunteers have delivered more than 118 million vaccinations in total, including 32 million top-up jabs since the booster rollout began in September.

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.

The NHS also continues to offer first, second, and third doses for those who are yet to come forward for one.