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Get your Spring Booster Covid jab urges NHS

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The NHS is issuing renewed appeal to come forward for Covid Spring Booster jab as case rates begin to rise again.

  • NHS staff give vaccine at Lewisham's Irish CommunityCentre's Community Health Day
    NHS staff give vaccine at Lewisham's Irish CommunityCentre's Community Health Day

Around a fifth of people aged 75 and over in Britain have yet to have their fourth Covid Spring Booster vaccination. These findings are ever more concerning for the vulnerable members of our community amid rising infections and hospitalisations.

The NHS is urging people who have not already done so, to book their COVID-19 Spring booster vaccination that is currently being offered to people aged 75 and over; older adult care home residents; and those who are immunosuppressed.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the week ending 11 June, an estimated 1 in 43 people in Britain had Covid – a substantial rise from 1 in 70 the previous week.

Rising cases

Vaccine Le Chéile bade with Irish in Britain logo

The re-surge of cases is thought to be down to a rise in Omicron variants, although scientists say that other factors may also be contributing to this, including a return to pre-pandemic behaviour and waning immunity.

Due to this, scientists stress that renewed efforts are needed to boost the uptake of Covid vaccines, particularly among older adults and other vulnerable groups who are eligible for four, or more, Covid vaccinations.

OPENSAFELY data shows that more than 96 percent of Irish people aged 75 and over in Britain have so far had at least three doses. However, NHS England figures suggest the uptake of fourth jabs, which for most in this group is their second booster, is far lower.

The low uptake of the Spring Booster may be partly due to people not knowing whether they are eligible. The confusion for many seems to be around the third booster/Spring Booster differentiation and the definition of ‘immunosuppressed ‘.

Some people may not realise that the Spring Booster is in addition to their initial booster.

Also, the eligibility criteria for the immunosuppressed group are broader for the spring booster campaign than in previous campaigns.

How to book

It has been recently announced by the NHS that GP practices should contact those identified as eligible by 27 June. However, a self-booking can also be made quickly and conveniently via the NHS Booking Service or by phoning 119. People can also find their nearest walk-in clinics, at convenient locations nearby, for example at places of worship, community centres and local pharmacies.

Given the rising numbers of cases and hospitalisations, we want to stress that the NHS have found vaccines to remain our best defence against Covid-19. Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency showed that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 186,000 hospitalisations since mid-December.

The number of eligible people within the Irish community in Britain who’ve already had their Spring Booster is encouraging, but it is important that we do not become complacent as the disease hasn’t vanished – it is still circulating in our communities. If you are a family member, friend, or carer of someone who is eligible for the Spring Booster, we would encourage you to help ensure their appointment is booked and they receive their latest jab as soon as possible.

Find out more about Irish in Britain's Vaccine Le Chéile/Togather campaign HERE.