Spring into action – stay protected and get vaccinated

29th April 2024

Spring booster.jpgVaccination clinic doors have opened across Dorset this month, with everyone eligible encouraged to book their COVID-19 vaccination this spring and top-up their protection from the virus.

In line with expert advice, this spring people aged 75 and over by 30 June, older adult care home residents and immunosuppressed people aged six months and over are entitled to a free vaccination. Eligibility for a spring vaccine dose is similar to previous years but those with a weakened immune system are now eligible from six months old instead of five years.

In Dorset we’ve more than 300,000 appointments available across the county until the end of June, with the majority available at pharmacies, community hospital sites and GP practices. People can book an appointment via the NHS National Booking Service, on the NHS App, by ringing 119 or by booking with your local GP if they are offering the vaccination. If a suitable appointment at your preferred location isn't available at first, please keep trying as more appointments are added to the national booking system each week.

As well as booked appointments via the NHS website and local GP booking systems, some pharmacies accept walk-ins and additional community walk-in clinics will be popping-up across the county helping bring the vaccine out to those who may be isolated or less likely to get to a clinic on the high street.

A full list of Dorset clinic locations is available on our local COVID-19 vaccination service webpages.

Martin Sale, lead pharmacist for the vaccination service in Dorset, said:

’Your protection from COVID-19 fades over time, even if you have previously been vaccinated, so it’s important for anyone aged 75 and over or with a weakened immune system to come forward for a spring vaccine. This will top-up your protection and help you avoid serious illness or hospitalisation. If you are unsure if you are eligible check the NHS website, and during your appointment a healthcare professional will talk you through it and make sure it’s right for you.

“With plenty of appointments available for anyone who is eligible, make sure you get yours before the end of June to keep you healthy throughout the summer months. Our clinics tend to fill up quickly at first, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t get a booking straight away – check again later.”

Vaccinations began a couple of weeks ago in older adult care homes and for eligible housebound patients ahead of wider appointments. If you or someone you know is housebound and waiting to hear from the NHS about the COVID-19 vaccination, NHS staff will be in touch to arrange your visit. You don't need to get in touch unless you are concerned you may not be registered as housebound.

COVID-19 can still be very dangerous and even life-threatening, particularly for older people and those with a weakened immune system. The vaccine gives good protection and helps reduce the risk of serious illness or death, of catching and spreading the virus, and also protects against different variants.

UKHSA surveillance data on last year’s spring COVID-19 vaccination programme showed that those who received a vaccine were up to 50% less likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 for three to four months after vaccination, compared to those who did not receive one.

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