Speedy and enthusiastic take-up of autumn COVID boosters

Health leaders have praised local people for their speedy and enthusiastic take-up of the autumn COVID booster vaccine.

Latest figures show that 52,000 autumn boosters have been administered in the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) patch since the inception of the programme on 5th September, placing the area as the best performer in the East of England and 4th in England.  Of these, 10% have been administered along with the flu vaccine.  Approximately 314,000 people are currently eligible for the autumn booster.

The vaccine is available across large vaccination centres, select GP surgeries and community pharmacies, hospital hubs as well as pop-up clinics. 

People can book an appointment using the national NHS booking system or go to one of the many no-appointment walk-in clinics across the area. Please do not contact your GP surgery – they will contact you if you are eligible.

On the www.sneevaccine.org.uk website there are currently more than 50 dates for pop-up clinics listed in the coming weeks. Everyone attending a walk-in clinic is reminded that there may be a wait involved, depending on how busy the clinic is, and to dress according to the weather.

The autumn COVID booster is currently available for those aged 65+, frontline health and social care workers, people who are in a clinical risk group, pregnant women and those who have or live with someone with a weakened immune system. 

Over the coming months and in line with national guidance those aged 50+ will be able to receive the autumn booster, and people in this younger age group are asked to wait until their eligibility is announced. Older people and those in higher risk categories are being vaccinated first as they are more likely to be at risk of serious illness.

Liz Moloney, who is leading the ICB’s COVID vaccination programme rollout, says: “When the autumn booster campaign began there was naturally some concern that people may have felt they’d had enough of COVID and vaccinations.

“Yet these latest figures show that people certainly recognise that COVID has not gone away and still presents a big threat to our own health and wellbeing and that of our loved ones.

“They know that, as the colder months approach, the booster vaccination gives the very best protection.  It’s also very encouraging that there is good take-up of the flu vaccine at the same time as COVID, particularly given it is so early in the flu season and supply of the flu vaccine is only just starting to be received by providers.

“I want thank everyone who has made the effort to book an appointment or go to a walk-in clinic, and of course the brilliant staff and volunteers who have made this all possible.

“If you know someone in an eligible group who has not received the vaccine – be that their 1st, 2nd or booster vaccination, please encourage them to take up the offer or ask them to call our local vaccination helpline on 0344 257 3961 to best understand why it’s so important to take action and get protected.”