Invitations to book a Covid booster jab are being sent to eligible people this week and at the same time NHS school aged vaccination services are gearing up to starts as the NHS vaccination programme enters a new phase ahead of winter.
Texts allowing eligible people to arrange a top-up through the National Booking Service start today, with letters also being sent later this week.
Meanwhile, healthy 12-15 year olds where parents have provided consent, will start to receive their COVID-19 vaccine – with Excelsior Academy in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, being one of the first schools in the North East and North Cumbria to start.
For adults once they receive their invite, people will be able to book an appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination at one of the convenient vaccine sites across the country. People that aren’t able go online can book by phoning 119.
Booster jabs are effective for topping up protection for people who have had both of their jabs and are at least six months after their second dose.
Hospital hubs have already started vaccinating frontline health and care workers as well as identifying other eligible patients for their booster vaccine with GP-led local vaccination services already contacting eligible patients.
The NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme will ramp up over the coming days as more vaccination centres and pharmacy-led clinics come online.
In line with JCVI advice adults should receive either one dose of the Pfizer vaccine or half a dose of the Moderna vaccine, which means for some people their booster dose may be different from the vaccines they had for your 1st and 2nd dose.
People could also be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Local health teams will prioritise care home residents and staff who are eligible and offer a booster jab by the beginning of November.
Those who are eligible for a booster include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
Meanwhile this week the NHS and local School Age Vaccination Services also begin vaccinating children aged 12 to 15 in line with the UK nations four Chief Medical Officers, in a move to reduce the disruption to education caused by COVID-19.
Professor Neil Watson, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria said, “We recognise the impact of children missing school has on both their physical and mental wellbeing and are offering vaccinations in school time with the minimum disruption to the school day.”
Parents will receive letters, information about the vaccine and are encouraged to discuss the benefits and the risks of the vaccination with their children, so that they can make an informed decision.
Children will only be vaccinated in school when a parent or guardian has provided prior written consent. If this has not been provided the vaccination will not go ahead in school.
For those that miss the session or change their minds in future, mop up sessions will be provided.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed that he Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for 12 to 17 year olds after having gone through all the necessary checks.
There has been a strong take up for those children aged 12 – 15 who are clinically vulnerable have already been offered the vaccine since August.
The Excelsior Academy on Denton Road in Newcastle will be the first school in the North East and North Cumbria to offer vaccinations from this Wednesday 22nd September.
Prof Eugene Milne, director of public health for Newcastle-upon-Tyne said:
“I am pleased that we can start to vaccinate 12 – 15 year olds in Newcastle, working with our local NHS partners and schools to roll out this programme quickly.
“Evidence shows that vaccines are effective at not only reducing the changes of serious illness but also reduce the transmission of the virus. Preventing wide spread transmission is key in stopping large outbreaks in schools and teaching environments and will slow the virus moving from schools to households and the wider community.
“The benefits of these vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds outweigh the risks. Similarly, we are reassured to hear that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and everyone over the age of 50 will be offered booster jabs to improve their protection from the virus.
Prof Milne continued: “All doses of the vaccine offer a layer of protection to our region and we continue to urge anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated, whether that is first, second or booster, to get their jabs as soon as possible.”