'Come forward urgently' - message for those eligible for Covid booster

A Covid vaccination being given in Lavenham

The vaccination programme has been a big success in the UK. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Health bosses in Suffolk and north Essex are urging people to have their coronavirus booster vaccine after it emerged that less than half of those eligible have come forward. 

The urgent message encouraging the vulnerable to have the booster comes as coronavirus rates in Ipswich continue to be amongst some of the highest in England.

Those overseeing the booster roll out in east and west Suffolk, and north Essex have also reiterated that there is no need for those eligible to wait for an invitation, they can simply turn up at one of the 100 local walk-in clinics taking place locally over the coming days. 

Arrangements have not yet been announced for Covid booster jabs this autumn

Arrangements have not yet been announced for Covid booster jabs this autumn - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A spokesman for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System said: “The booster vaccination programme continues apace and so far 61,500 people locally have had the booster, out of around 147,000 people who are eligible. We urge everyone eligible to come forward urgently." 

Claire Smith, a mum who lives in the Stowmarket area, said despite herself and her daughter being clinically extremely vulnerable she has struggled to get the booster.

Mrs Smith, who has had to shield earlier in the pandemic, added: "I have been trying to get the booster but the local vaccine centre appears to only be open on certain week days, in the daytime.

"This is makes the vaccine unaccessible to those of us who work. I’m sure all those involved in the vaccine programme are working very hard, and we all grateful but I do think a range of opening days and times could really increase the uptake of the booster and vaccines one and two." 

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The spokesman for the Suffolk and North Essex Integrated Care System confirmed that there will be walk-in vaccine clinics taking place in some centres in Essex and Suffolk this weekend, October 23-24.

They said: "There are almost 100 walk-in clinics taking place over the coming days, including at the weekend, where you simply turn up to get the booster vaccination.  We are incredibly grateful to the volunteers and staff for the great work they are doing at these events.

“It’s so important for people who are eligible to come forward so they will have that extra layer of protection over the winter months.

"Rates of infection continue to increase nationally and, in the county, Ipswich is recording some of the highest rates of infection in England. 

"Having the booster vaccination is the best way to protect our own heath and the health of our loved ones, as well as preventing our health and social care services becoming overwhelmed.”

Details of where those eligible can have the booster vaccination are available on the Suffolk and North East EssexCOVID-19 Vaccination Service website sneevaccine.org.uk. You can also book your vaccine via their local number - 0344 257 3961.

Who is eligible for the Covid booster vaccination? 

Booster vaccine doses are available to those most at risk from Covid who had their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago. 

Those classed as vulnerable to coronavirus are: 

  • People aged 50 and over
  • People who live and work in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
  • People aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid-19
  • People aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose. Further details can be found on the NHS website - www.nhs.uk. 

On Tuesday health secretary Sajid Javid told MPs that the national booking service will be opened up to younger teenagers to book their Covid-19 vaccination during half term. 

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