The NHS has announced that the "Next generation" COVID-19 vaccines that were designed to target both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron variant will be rolled out on September 5.

It was confirmed on August 18th that care home residents and those housebound would be the first priority to get the new vaccine. Starting September 12, those over 75 years of age along with those with serious conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus will be included in the list of those prioritised to get the new vaccine.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said, "The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials, and will now be the first to deliver the new, variant-busting vaccine when the rollout begins at the start of September.

She furthered, "Our fantastic NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to deliver 126 million doses to date, and behind the scenes, they have once again been preparing to deliver the latest phase with the same speed and precision as we have had throughout the rollout."

Pritchard added, "When the time comes, I would strongly encourage anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, to do so as quickly as possible - it will give you maximum protection this winter."

The United Kingdom is the first country to approve the rollout of the new bivalent vaccine from Moderna. Until now, all vaccines used worldwide against COVID-19 were created to target only the original Wuhan virus that emerged in China. Moderna's innovative bivalent vaccine will target both the original strain and the now dominant Omicron variant.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has set guidelines that would make around 26 million people across England eligible for an autumn booster. At present, up to 3,000 sites are expected to be part of the rollout - including GP practices and community pharmacies.

The NHS is not guaranteeing that everyone will get the newer vaccines, but the chiefs of health of the country signed a deal last year for 29 million doses to be delivered before the end of 2022.

The smallpox vaccine is currently being used to protect against monkeypox.