People who have a weakened immune system or are aged over 75 should protect themselves by getting their COVID-19 vaccination booster, as the number of infections rise across the UK.
That is the advice from Prof Neil Watson, who heads up the vaccination programme for the North East and North Cumbria.
Prof Watson said: “We know that not everyone who is eligible for their fourth dose has come forward for their spring booster and we are appealing for them to get booked in so they are protected.
“Please don’t delay, and look out for family and friends around you. If you know someone who is over 75’s or has a weakened immune system, please support them to get vaccinated. They are at higher risk, so having their fourth dose will help improve their immune response and give them better protection.”
A spring booster is available for people aged 75 and over, people who live in a care home for older people, or people aged 12 and over who have a weakened immune system.
This includes those who had or have:
- blood cancers (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
- lowered immunity due to treatment (such as steroid medication, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- lowered immunity due to inherited disorders of the immune system
- an organ or bone marrow transplant
- diseases that affect the immune system such as poorly controlled HIV
- other diseases or treatments as advised by your specialist
Vaccine response monitoring has shown that protection may be lower and decline more quickly in people who fall into the categories at six months or earlier.
To prevent hospitalisation, severe illness or even death it’s important to get the doses that are offered.
Prof Neil Watson continued: “With the summer now in full bloom, people are mixing more, going on holidays at home and abroad, meeting up with family and friends.
“Like most areas of the country, we are seeing Covid cases rising. Getting protected has never been so important and will give maximum protection ahead of any day trips out or breaks away, particularly for the most vulnerable.”
Later in the year the NHS will invite eligible people for a seasonal dose during autumn/winter. Eligible people may also be able to have their flu vaccination in the same visit.
To book a COVID-19 vaccination visit the National Booking Service, call 119 or find a convenient local walk-in site.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to provide services and is available for anyone who wants to get vaccinated.