COVID-19 booster vaccinations begin in Hertfordshire

Patient receiving the COVID-19 booster vaccine at Roche in Welwyn Garden City

Patient Kamala receiving the COVID-19 booster vaccine at Roche in Welwyn Garden City - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire CCG

People most at risk from COVID-19 in Hertfordshire are being invited by the NHS to have a booster vaccine.

Booster vaccines are being offered to people who had their second dose at least six months ago, starting with priority groups which include all adults aged 50 or over, frontline health and social care workers, and people aged over 16 with a learning disability or severe mental illness and their carers.

The priority groups also include adults who live in the same household as people with suppressed immune systems, and 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.

The NHS says this ‘third phase’ of the vaccination programme is very important, as 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 community pharmacies.

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New booster vaccination sites are being added to the national booking system over the coming days and weeks, giving people more choice about where they get their vaccine.

GP practices are also 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.

Doctor Rachel Joyce, director of clinical services for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It’s really important 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, including where and when the nearest drop-in clinics are, visit covid.healthierfuture.org.uk

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