The COVID-19 spring booster vaccination programme got underway last month in nursing homes, but with the majority of GP practices having just begun vaccinating their eligible patients; the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging those eligible to look out for their invite.
GPs will be vaccinating eligible patients aged 75 years or older, so it’s important to make yourself aware of your own GP practices arrangements.
As well as people aged 75 years and over, the spring booster will be offered to residents in care homes for older people, and those aged 12 years and over with weakened immune systems. It is advised that the spring booster should be offered around six months after an individual received their first booster dose.
Dr Jillian Johnston, Joint Interim Assistant Director in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Each GP practice will have their own arrangements in place for inviting those eligible for vaccination, the invite may come via phone or in writing or you may need to contact your GP practice to make an appointment. That is why it is important to make yourself aware of your own GP practices arrangements.
“The spring booster is being offered as a precaution to those at extremely high risk, most of whom received their first booster around six months ago. If the number of infections increases over the summer, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.”
In addition to being invited by their own GP to receive a spring booster, individuals aged over 75 will have the option to receive their spring booster vaccination via a participating community pharmacy or at a HSC Trust-led vaccination clinic. Find out more on how to get your booster vaccination at www.nidirect.gov.uk/covid-vaccine.
“COVID-19 has not gone away and we would urge those eligible to come forward for the spring booster when invited,” added Dr Johnston.
JCVI have advised that the spring booster dose should be offered to:
adults aged 75 years and over,
residents in a care homes, and
individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed, as defined in the Green Book https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a .
Spring booster programme arrangements
Care Homes: the spring booster programme began in care homes at the start of April and community pharmacies will complete this element of the programme.
Over 75s: GPs will invite all their eligible patients aged 75 years or older in for vaccination. In addition to being invited by their own GP to receive a spring booster, individuals aged over 75 will have the option to receive their spring booster vaccination via a participating community pharmacy or at a HSC Trust-led vaccination clinic.
Vaccination centres: Trusts will continue to run some vaccination centres as well as mobile clinics/pop-up clinics.
Housebound patients: Trusts (through District Nursing Teams) will continue to vaccinate the eligible housebound patients.
Immunosuppressed individuals are also eligible for the spring booster but it is likely that many of these individuals will have only recently received their booster dose, 3 months after they had received a 3rd primary dose. These individuals should be offered the booster during the spring campaign providing there is at least three months from the previous dose. Trust clinicians should write to advise their patients of this. GPs should provide a “safety net” service. Practices can offer vaccination to any of their registered patients who meet the criteria as immunosuppressed at patient request or by practice identification.
Further information on the spring booster is available at www.pha.site/springbooster.