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Health leaders urge people to book COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as they are invited

People who have been invited by the national booking service (NBS) to book their COVID-19  booster vaccination are being urged to come forward and take up the opportunity as soon as possible.

The vaccination booster programme is currently underway across Norfolk and Waveney, as well as priority for third doses being given to those who are immunosuppressed or identified on patient records as being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

The NHS in Norfolk and Waveney is urging people who have received an invite for a booster via an email or text from the NBS to book their appointment as soon as possible.

If you haven’t yet received an invite but are eligible and had your second dose six months ago, you can go onto the NBS and self-declare. Please make sure you had your second dose six months ago as otherwise your vaccination cannot take place and you will be turned away when you arrive for your appointment.

Cath Byford, Chief Nurse, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “There is lots of vaccine availability at national booking service sites across Norfolk and Waveney, so if you have received an invite for a booster by email or text, please book your appointment as soon as possible.

“The winter months and colder weather brings an increase in respiratory viruses in the community.  The booster programme will help keep people out of hospital with serious COVID-19 related illness during what is always a busier season for the NHS. Coronavirus is still circulating and infection rates remain relatively high.

“Please take the opportunity now to get your booster booked in if you are eligible.”

Cath added: “We appreciate that not everyone will have computer access but there are ways in which you can be supported to do this – either directly yourself, with help and support of family members or by popping into a local library who will be able to support you to access a computer and book your vaccination direct.

“You can also call 119 and they will be able to book your booster vaccine for you.”

The library service is offering assistance to anyone who would like support booking a vaccination or booster via the national booking service online.

Staff or volunteers can also show people how to find reliable health information and book health appointments or request repeat prescriptions. These one-to-one sessions can be delivered online over Zoom, or in person in Norfolk Libraries.

To make an appointment with the Norfolk Libraries’ digital health hub you can call 01603 774 777 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The following groups are the first eligible cohorts for a booster vaccine:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • frontline health and social care workers including those who work in residential and nursing homes for older adults
  • 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
  • all adults aged 50 years or over

Anyone eligible for a booster should wait to be contacted by the NHS to make an appointment.

Hospital consultants and local GPs are working closely together to ensure that these very vulnerable patients are contacted as soon as possible to make an appointment for their third vaccine as these patients are less likely to have retained anti-bodies from their first vaccines.

As part of the initial roll out of booster vaccinations, health and care providers and employers are also currently compiling list of all their staff who require third jabs These individuals will either be vaccinated at clinics provided within their workplaces or directed to clinics at other local vaccination centres.

Walk-in vaccination clinics running across Norfolk and Waveney are still focused on providing first and second doses for anyone aged 16+ and are not yet providing booster clinics.

GP practices continue to be incredibly busy and need to keep their phone lines open for patients to make appointments with their doctor or practice nurse. Local people are therefore asked not to telephone their practice asking when they will get their booster – the NHS will make contact when it’s your turn.

A third vaccination offers vital protection by boosting the antibodies in the body that fight COVID-19.  There is evidence that antibodies decrease over time and that a booster should be offered six months after the second vaccine has been given

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

You can book a PCR test here:  https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • First and second dose vaccine appointments can be booked through the national booking service by visiting nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or telephoning 119. When invited, people can book at one of the vaccination centre, pharmacy or general practice sites that are available through the national booking service. Alternatively, you can visit a walk in centre. To find the latest walk-in vaccine clinics taking place across Norfolk and Waveney, visit: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics
  • Booster jabs (third doses) are by invitation only. Please do not contact your GP or attend a walk in centre. You will be invited for your booster by the NHS.
  • If you require a third primary dose (different to booster) you will be contacted by your GP practice to be booked in. GP practices are currently going through their lists and will be inviting people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or immunosuppressed.
  • You do not have to be registered with a GP or have a NHS number to be vaccinated, but it is not yet possible to book an appointment via the NBS without one. For those not registered with a GP or without an NHS number, a growing number of walk-in and pop-up sites are available. Anyone in the UK can choose to register with a GP.
  • If you have it, please take with you your NHS number to help the vaccination team book you in quickly (please see here). But don’t worry if you don’t have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP / local doctor, you can still get vaccinated.
  • You do NOT need to show identification (ID) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and you do not need to give your full name or address. It does not matter whether you are a UK citizen or what your immigration status is, how long you have been here or how long you expect to stay.
  • Before your vaccination: Don't forget to keep hydrated (bring some bottled water with you) and have something to eat before you come!

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