People aged 40+ and teenagers aged 16-17 in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can now stay safer this winter as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is extended to cover both age groups.
Local health chiefs are calling on patients to get their jabs after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised the Government that booster vaccinations for people aged 40-49 and second doses of vaccine for people aged 16-17 should be made available.
Pfizer and Moderna booster jabs are being given to eligible people aged 40+ who had their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine six months ago, as protection offered by the first two jabs will now have begun to wane.
Teenagers aged 16-17 are also now being offered a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, to be administered 12 weeks or more after their first dose or 12 weeks after any proven COVID-19 infection, whichever is the latter.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the vaccination programme, said: “Our COVID-19 vaccines have played a huge role in protecting people from the coronavirus this year, but we do know that the protection they give us does drop over time.
“This booster vaccination will give those people at greatest risk important extra protection, which will be particularly important now that winter is approaching, and people aged between 40 and 49 can now book an appointment or visit a walk-in centre to get their jab.
“It is also good news that a second dose of vaccine can now be offered to 16- and 17-year-olds, improving their protection.
“We would urge everyone who is eligible for a COVID vaccine to get their jab as soon as they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
People who are eligible for a booster at least six months after their second dose include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 40 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 39 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.
- pregnant women, as the latest data shows that nearly 1 in 5 of the most critically ill COVID patients were unvaccinated pregnant women.
The NHS will be in touch to notify eligible people when they are due their booster jab, at least six months – a minimum of 182 days – after their second vaccination. People will be able to book their appointment ahead of this at 152 days, or five months after their second vaccination.
Dr Hannigan added: “You don’t need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to get your jab, but it will be quicker if you do, so please take that information with you if you can.
“Don’t miss out – get vaccinated and get back to doing the things you love to do.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has also announced that people who have had a booster or a third dose will now be able to demonstrate their vaccine status through the NHS COVID Pass when travelling abroad.
Up-to-date details and times for all Staffordshire COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinics can be found at https://www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/coronavirus/how-to-get-a-vaccine-where-and-travelling