Health chiefs urge those eligible for a COVID jab to take advantage of “The Big Weekend”

Health bosses in Suffolk and north east Essex are urging people who are eligible for a COVID booster jab to take advantage of their ‘Big Weekend’.

Hundreds of extra slots have been made available on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October, at Colchester, Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals and the Skyliner Sports Centre in Bury St Edmunds.

You can go along with no need for an appointment or make an appointment* via the national NHS website if you prefer.

Colchester Hospital – Main Outpatients Dept Room 2 – Sat 14th and Sun 15th 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Ipswich Hospital – Main Outpatients Department Clinic A – Sat 14th and Sun 15th 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

West Suffolk Hospital – Birch House – Sat 14th 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

Skyliner Sports Centre, Rougham Tower Avenue, Bury St Edmunds – Sun 15th 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. *walk-in only, no appointments offered

The above listed sessions at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals will be offering COVID vaccinations to all those eligible aged 12 years and over, and at West Suffolk Hospital and the Skyliner Sports Centre to all those eligible aged 5 years and over.

These sessions are in addition to the many other locations offering bookable appointments or walk-ins. The local website has all the information on COVID vaccinations and the vaccine, times and locations of walk-in clinics and details on making a booked appointment.

Those without computer access can call 119 for this information.

As of Monday (October 9) a total of 131,563 people across the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (SNEE ICB) area had received their COVID autumn booster jab, including 343 very first doses.

That amounts to 28 per cent of the eligible population – the second highest of any ICB in the country and highest in the east of England.

Last week alone 44,031 people were vaccinated against the virus.

The autumn booster COVID campaign is being administered alongside the seasonal flu vaccination campaign.

So far 171, 707 people have received their flu jab in Suffolk and north east Essex, representing 27 per cent of the eligible population.

Many bookable and walk-in clinics are offering both the COVID and flu jabs at the same time.

Over half (55 per cent) of the COVID jabs delivered since the start of the autumn campaign have been co-administered alongside flu jabs.

Elizabeth Moloney, who is leading the COVID vaccination programme locally, said: “I want to thank everyone who has taken up the offer so far. This level of take up highlights the confidence people have in the vaccine and how people want the assurance of having the best possible protection over the coming winter months.

“This Big Weekend will see lots of extra slots being made available at Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk hospitals, in addition to the many other locations available across Suffolk and north east Essex where people can either book an appointment or go to a walk-in.

“If you are eligible please take action to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.”

Those eligible for a COVID vaccination:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults
  • All adults aged 65 years and over
  • Persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • Persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • Persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.

Not all locations offer vaccination to all eligible categories so please check in advance.

Those eligible for a flu vaccination:

  • are 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis