Healthwatch England National Director, Louise Ansari, has added Healthwatch support to a drive encouraging people with a weakened immune system to receive a Spring booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Full text of the open letter that Healthwatch has signed can be found below:
We join together as NHS and charity leaders to encourage people with a weakened immune system to continue to book in or visit a walk-in centre for their COVID-19 vaccines. All individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are advised to receive a Spring booster dose of the vaccine, typically six months after their last dose.
COVID-19 is still out there and the vaccine offers the best defence against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing on the virus to loved ones and others around you. It is safe, effective and free for everyone, with thousands of convenient appointments every day. You do not even need to be registered with a GP practice to receive your vaccine.
If you are immunosuppressed, either due to a health condition or medical treatment, you may not yet have the best protection you can possibly get from the vaccine. Additionally, there may be some people who are immunosuppressed who have not been vaccinated at all and we urge them to come forward.
You should usually be contacted by the NHS when you are due a Spring booster. Please do take up this offer. If you haven’t heard and you think you may be eligible then you can book a vaccination and come forward.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that people with a weakened immune system receive their Spring booster as close as possible to six months after their last dose for maximum protection. However, the booster can be given from three months where necessary, depending on individual circumstances.
The NHS has made some changes which means it has never been easier to get your booster if you are immunosuppressed. After booking, you can bring one of several documents to the appointment to confirm you are eligible. This could be a letter from your GP or specialist advising you get the jab, a hospital letter about your condition or medication, or a prescription or medication box with your name and a date on it.
If you don’t have any of this evidence to hand, don’t worry – just speak to a clinician when you arrive for your appointment.
Vaccination appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, where you can also find out which vaccines you are eligible for. If you can’t go online, telephone 119 for the same information – calls are free and translators are available on request.
Whether one of your vaccines is overdue or you haven’t had your first yet, please be assured that it isn’t too late. We encourage you to book an appointment today.