Covid booster jabs in county to be given 'via appointment only'

Covid booster jabs will start to be given in Shropshire from this week but will be via appointment only, health bosses say.

In line with new guidance set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the vaccination programme will now invite eligible people, who had their second jab at least six months ago, for their booster dose.

Text messages and letters are being sent out and appointments can be booked through the national booking service.

As it will be phased, people will only be able to book once they are invited.

Steve Ellis, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin vaccination programme lead, said: “Our hardworking staff have been gearing up to deliver the booster programme, to give further protection to health and social care workers, as well as those most at risk from Covid-19.

“The message from us is simple – your turn will come and it will be via appointment only, so there is no need for you to contact the NHS or your local GP practice about this. The NHS will be in touch with you when it is your turn to get your booster vaccine – at least six months on from your last dose.

“Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from Covid-19, so please do come forward for your booster, when you are invited.”

Hospitals and GP-led local vaccination services will be vaccinating frontline health and care workers as well as identifying other eligible patients for their booster vaccine.

More vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led sites will come online in the following weeks.

Dr Jess Harvey, from Much Wenlock and Cressage Medical Practice, added: "We really want people to rest assured that their GPs are planning for clinics but that we have been awaiting confirmation of vaccine delivery dates which is why patients may not be able to ring their GP and book an appointment.

"We totally understand the frustration of patients at being told one thing when not entirely accurate.

"We are doing our absolute best to get these clinics up and running to offer boosters to all of those eligible.

"Practices will be contacting patients when they are in a position to start booking these clinics so please avoid contacting your GP about these clinics unless asked to do so by your practice."

Those that will be eligible include people 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; adult carers and those experiencing homelessness and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

The Pfizer vaccination will be the primary vaccine used as the booster.

In addition to the Covid-19 booster programme, local areas have already been identifying and vaccinating people aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed with a third jab following updated guidance from the JCVI in early September.

Last week the Government also accepted the advice of the four chief medical officers to offer a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all healthy 12 to15-year-olds. The county's health bosses are now working with the local school aged immunisation service to deliver this vaccination programme in the coming weeks.

Vaccinations for children aged 12-15 will mainly be delivered in schools.

Letters will be sent to parents and guardians asking them to provide consent.

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