A big rush for Covid-19 autumn booster shots has resulted in more appointments being made available at the vaccination clinics across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
The hugely positive response by thousands of over-65s to the latest phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme has been welcomed by health leaders, who have also encouraged those not yet able to secure an appointment to keep trying, as more appointments are frequently added.
As it stands, all over-65s, as well as frontline health and care workers, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, can book their latest top-up dose via the National Booking Service.
To help every person get protected as quickly as possible, the region’s vaccination teams are working extra hard to increase the number of appointment slots available at venues such as Bath Racecourse, the Steam Museum in Swindon and Salisbury City Hall.
Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Like with previous phases of the vaccination programme, it is massively important that people book their appointments as soon as they become eligible.
“We know that it takes a few weeks from having the vaccine for people to build up a good level of immunity to Covid-19, so getting boosted early on will mean that when the real cold weather hits, those most at-risk will already be protected.
“The last few years have shown us that coronavirus becomes much more prevalent when the temperature dips and people begin to spend more time indoors, and with no social restrictions in place this winter, having the jab is one simple thing people can do to ensure they get through the colder months safe and well.”
This latest round of vaccinations, which for many comes approximately six months after having a previous top-up in the spring, is designed to keep older people and those more susceptible to falling seriously ill with Covid-19 safe during winter.
Residents and staff at care homes across the region have already been receiving the autumn booster jabs since the beginning of September.
In the coming weeks, all adults over the age of 50 will be invited to have the autumn booster jab.
All those who become eligible will be contacted directly by the NHS when it is their turn to book.
However, people can get a head-start on arranging their appointment by following vaccination updates online and in the media, and proactively booking their jab when news of the National Booking Service opening to younger age groups is announced.
Across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, booster jabs continue to be available from those venues that have served the vaccination programme since its inception in December 2020.
When booking a vaccination, people will be able to choose an appointment slot from a list of venues near to any given UK postcode.
For people who decide to get their booster from a walk-in centre, it is essential to check beforehand that the venue is accepting people without an appointment, and this can be done via the NHS website.
More information about the local rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, including an extensive list of frequently asked questions, can be found online at http://www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.