The NHS is inviting more people who are most at risk from Covid to come forward for their booster jab as it continues to be rolled out across the North West.
Just over two weeks since the JCVI advised that the booster vaccination programme should begin, the top-up dose is being given at more than 200 vaccine services across the region including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres, with many more sites due to start offering it in the coming weeks.
Boosters are currently offered to everyone aged 50 and over, frontline health and social care workers and those aged between 16 and 49 with an underlying health condition putting them at greater risk from the virus at least 26 weeks since their second dose. They do not need to contact the NHS but will be invited when it is their turn. Texts and letters are going out to around 1.5 million more people nationally this week.
Primary Care Networks have either commenced or plan to take the booster vaccine into care homes in the coming weeks across the North West, and where appropriate some are planning to give the booster vaccine alongside the flu vaccine.
Ollie, 83, from Wallasey, who was one of the first people in the North West to receive a booster vaccine, said, “I’m quite happy to have had my booster jab. I’ll be able to carry on with my life a bit easier than if I hadn’t have had it.”
Liz Murphy, 58, from Huyton, who has been volunteering at Alder Hey throughout the pandemic, had the booster vaccine to protect herself and those she cares for. She said: “Underlying everything is the safety and wellbeing of our kids and nothing is more important. We’ve had vaccines all our lives, and we have to take a leap of faith. It’s the most important thing to help this and future generations.”
Once invited, people can book their booster vaccine appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. People that aren’t able go online can book by phoning 119.
Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, Regional Director of Commissioning (North West) and Executive Lead/Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccination Programme in the North West Region, has called on people to book their booster vaccine as soon as they are invited to ensure they get extra protection ahead of winter.
She said: “The COVID-19 vaccination programme in the North West continues to go from strength to strength, with more than 9.8 million vaccine doses given to date. NHS teams are pulling out all the stops to give booster and third doses for those at greatest risk from serious illness at the earliest opportunity, as well as giving single doses for healthy children aged 12 to 15 and continuing to offer first and second doses to our population to protect them against COVID-19.
“Now that the National Booking Service has opened to people eligible for a booster it’s time to book yourself in. It’s the quickest and most convenient way to book your jab and you can have – peace of mind knowing your appointment is booked.
“The aim is to maintain protection this winter against severe COVID-19 disease, specifically hospitalisation and deaths, for those who have already had two doses. The vaccines remain the best way to protect yourself, your family and friends as we head into winter when we know Covid can present a bigger risk to our health.”
With a minimum of six months required between the second and booster dose, some people in the original nine priority groups may not become eligible until early next year.
Those who are eligible for a booster include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals