People most at risk from COVID-19 in Hertfordshire and west Essex are being invited by the NHS to have a ‘booster’ vaccine.
Following new guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), booster vaccines are being offered to people who had their second dose at least six months ago, starting with people in the following priority groups:
- 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 and their adult carers
- adults who live in the same household as people with suppressed immune systems
- people over 16 years of age with a learning disability or severe mental illness and their carers
This ‘third phase’ of the vaccination programme is very important – it will top up the immunity levels of vulnerable people before it starts to naturally decline – leaving them at risk of becoming seriously ill in the autumn or winter.
More people will be invited for their boosters in the new year.
People who are eligible will be contacted by the NHS when it’s their turn to get their booster. They will be invited by phone, text or letter to get their vaccination either by making an appointment through the national booking service or through an invitation to a local GP-run service.
Vaccinations are now being delivered at five large vaccination centres; by most GP practices, in care homes and residential homes, and at an increasing number of local community pharmacies – including some in locations where vaccine take-up has been relatively low. New booster vaccination sites are being added to the national booking system over the coming days and weeks, giving people even more choice about where they get their vaccine.
As well as offering ‘booster’ vaccinations, GP practices are working with hospital consultants to identify, contact and then vaccinate immunosuppressed patients aged 12 years and over who urgently need a third ‘primary’ dose of the jab, together with their household contacts. These high-risk individuals only need to wait for a minimum of eight weeks after getting their second dose of the vaccine, NOT six months. To see a complete list of those advised to get a third ‘primary dose’, visit GOV.UK.
Dr Rachel Joyce, Director of Clinical Services for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It’s really important that people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 get the vaccinations they need – whether that’s a ‘booster’ or a third dose to protect them from the virus ahead of winter, giving longer-term protection to those who need it most.
“Don’t forget that if you haven’t had any doses of the vaccine yet, it’s not too late. Please come forward and get your vaccine through the national booking service, by calling 119 or asking your GP practice. The national online booking system is now open to anyone aged 16+, so it’s easier than ever to get your vaccine.
“If you are not registered with a GP practice, don’t worry. There are locations where anyone can ‘drop-in’ to claim their vaccination without an appointment. Protecting everyone who lives or works in our area is our top priority.”
To find out more about vaccinations in Hertfordshire and west Essex, including where and when the nearest ‘drop-in’ clinics are, go to the Healthier Future website.