It was announced by the government earlier this month that people most at risk of falling seriously ill from coronavirus, including all those aged over 50, health and social care workers and people with weakened immune systems, would be offered a third vaccine dose.
The region’s first batch of invitations, either in the form of a national letter or a call or text from a local GP practice, were sent over the weekend.
Those expecting to be contacted, but still waiting, are advised to be patient as the booster vaccine can only be given once a period of six months since the date of a person’s last vaccination has passed, with people who received their second dose early at three or four weeks being prioritised.
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said:
“We know that many people are keen to keep their Covid-19 immunity topped up, and this is fantastic to see, but we do ask that those expecting a booster vaccine wait to be contacted.
“Our GP practices are incredibly busy at the moment, and we want to make sure their phone lines are only being used by those in genuine need of care or treatment.
“As was our message at the very start of the vaccination rollout, nobody will be left behind, and every person eligible for a booster vaccine will be contacted as soon as it is their turn.
“These booster vaccines will help to ensure those most susceptible to Covid-19 are kept safe during the winter, and I’d encourage everyone who is offered this third dose to come forward.”
Those having the booster will be invited to book their jab in one of two ways, either through the National Booking Service or through their GP practice directly.
When using the National Booking Service, people can choose the vaccination site closest to their home or place of work, or with the greatest appointment availability.
Salisbury City Hall and Bath Racecourse, the region’s two large vaccination centres, will be among the venues listed on the National Booking Service, and currently offer good availability for people wishing to book their jabs quickly.
Some sites that were located outside of a healthcare setting, such as Salisbury Cathedral, will not be used in the latest phase of the vaccination rollout. But additional venues, such as those located at GP practices and community pharmacies, will be introduced to ensure there is no drop in vaccine provision.
So far, more than 400 booster vaccines have been given out at vaccination sites across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
In some cases, the booster vaccine may be given at the same time as the annual flu jab, however this is not guaranteed, and people are advised to book their appointment for each of the vaccinations as and when contacted to do so.
For further information about the local vaccination rollout, visit www.bswccg.nhs.uk.