All people aged 30+ in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent who have had their first and second jabs and immunocompromised 16+ patients who have had their three primary doses can now (December 13) get their COVID-19 booster vaccine.
From Wednesday (December 15) everybody aged 18 and over who is eligible will also be able to get their booster shot.
The planned booster rollout has been extended and sped up to help people stay safer this winter and protect them against any potential threat from the newly discovered Omicron variant.
Local health chiefs are calling on patients to get their jabs as soon as they are eligible after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised the Government that booster vaccinations for people aged 18-39 should be made available more quickly than originally planned.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the major acceleration to the national booster programme on Sunday (December 12).
The decision was made to ensure that as many people as possible could get the maximum vaccine protection as scientists work to determine what effects the new Omicron variant will have.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to substantially increase the immune response when used as a booster jab, regardless of which vaccine was administered for first and second doses.
Booster vaccinations will only be given three months or more after someone has had their second jab and patients will be able to book an appointment on the National Booking System once eligible. If you turn up to a walk-in clinic before the three-month date you will not be eligible for the vaccine.
Severely immunosuppressed patients have already been offered a third dose on top of the usual two to boost their immunity still further. These patients, once they have received all three doses, will now also be offered a booster vaccine three months after their third dose was given. Patients can discover whether they qualify for this booster dose by visiting here.
Immunosuppressed patients who have not yet received their third dose can get their third dose now to avoid further delay. They will then be able to receive their Pfizer or Moderna booster dose once three months have passed.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the vaccination programme in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Our coronavirus vaccines are playing a massive role in protecting people against all variants of COVID-19, so it is vital that people come forward to receive all their jabs as soon as they are eligible. The booster programme is now expanding, and many more appointments are being made available each day, so please keep checking and get your booster at the earliest opportunity.
“The discovery of the Omicron variant only underlines the importance of getting your primary jabs and then your booster dose to make sure that you are as well protected as possible and can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
“Making sure that the maximum number of people in our community have had their vaccine ahead of any wave of infection caused by the Omicron variant will hopefully keep people healthy and minimise its impact, helping to relieve the strain upon our health and care services at a time of year when they are already under intense pressure because of flu and other winter illnesses.”
Dr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Support Member for Public Health, said: “Keeping topped up with the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family, so please do book your booster as soon as you can.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones MBE, Director of Adult Social Care, Health Integration and Wellbeing and Director of Public Health for Stoke-on-Trent said: “People across Stoke-on-Trent continue to play a huge part in reducing the spread of Covid-19 by following the national advice and regulations.
“Now that the government has begun the implementation of these measures, it’s more important than ever that everyone in the city pull together in limiting the spread of this variant.
“Safety precautions include people being asked to work from home again whenever possible, and for face coverings to be compulsory in most public places to help contain the spread of Omicron.
“Booster jabs are hugely important to bolster your defences against this new variant. I urge all residents and communities in Stoke-on-Trent to book their first, second or booster jab without delay. It’s never too late to receive your first or second dose of the vaccine. Getting your jabs and practicing hands, face and space still remain the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus.”
Councillor Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for residents in Stoke-on-Trent. However, the vaccine has offered us opportunities to ease that. So many people in our city have had both their first and second jab, and are, like me, keen to now get their booster.
“There’s lots of opportunities across the city to receive the vaccine, and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to take up the free vaccinations against Covid-19.
“Having a booster jab means that I can significantly reduce the chance of catching and spreading coronavirus. It also brings me peace of mind to know that if I were to catch it, when fully vaccinated I’m far less likely to become seriously ill.
“As people now begin to come together to celebrate the festive season, getting your booster is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself, your loved ones and everyone else as safe as possible. Please book your booster jab as soon as you are eligible.”
Appointments for vaccines can be booked online through the National Booking System by visiting www.nhs.uk, or by calling 119. People should not contact their GP surgery about making vaccine appointments.
People can also get their booster vaccine at walk-in clinics. Up-to-date details and times for 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
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 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.