THE festive season is just around the corner and health chiefs are urging eligible people who haven’t yet had their COVID-19 seasonal vaccine to come forward, with only a month to go before NHS bookable appointments end.
Regional lead for the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme, Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, said it was important that people who are at greater risk from Covid-19 get their vital protection before celebrating Christmas and New Year with family and friends. The last date to book a Covid vaccine on the National Booking Service (NBS) is anticipated to be Thursday 14 December.
More than 1.2 million vaccines have been delivered in the North West to people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus since the latest phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme launched in September, but many more people are yet to come forward.
In the North West to date, the NHS and its partners have delivered more than 19.5 million doses of the vaccine, as part of the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in NHS history.
Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, Regional Director of Commissioning and Senior Responsible Officer for the vaccination programme at NHS England – North West, said: “It’s great news that more than 1.2 million people who are eligible for the autumn COVID-19 booster have already come forward for the extra protection ahead of winter, and I would urge anyone who is eligible and has yet to get the top up of protection, to book one of the thousands of appointments we have available and get protected in time for Christmas.
“The vaccines continue to provide the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and flu, so please make sure you get vaccinated when offered and encourage loved ones who are eligible to do the same.
“Booking an appointment is easier than ever, as well as the National Booking Service, you can book on the NHS App or call 119.”
Over the next four weeks, more than 400,000 bookable appointments will be available for those eligible in the North West to come forward for the latest dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as their flu vaccine, at more than 500 sites across the region. A number of sites, including community pharmacies, may also offer walk-in appointments.
Hundreds of thousands of people in the North West were eligible for the latest COVID-19 top up – including all aged 65 and over, pregnant women, those with an underlying health condition and frontline health and social care staff.
Many people have taken the chance to get their flu vaccine in the same appointment, as providers make it as convenient as possible for people to get their winter protection.
Although the last NBS booked appointments will be on 15 December, some Covid vaccinations may continue to be offered through walk-in and outreach clinics after that date and may also be offered to people who become newly immunosuppressed after the programme ends.
Eligible people coming forward for their autumn booster should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months since their last dose.
All eligible adults can book their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations by visiting www.nhs.uk/seasonalvaccinations, on the NHS App or by calling 119. Some pharmacies and other vaccine services offer walk-in clinics and people can search for their nearest location on the NHS website.