People with severely weakened immune systems in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being encouraged to get their third primary COVID-19 vaccination and a booster dose to ensure they are fully protected against the virus.
Experts say that eligible patients should have a third primary COVID-19 vaccine dose followed by a further booster to get a good level of protection. This is because patients who were considered immunosuppressed around the time of either of their first two doses may not have generated a good immune response to those jabs.
People identified as eligible for third and booster doses include those who have an immunodeficiency condition such as leukaemia, lymphoma, HIV/AIDS, or stem cell patients.
Other patients who should have the extra doses include those who were on immunosuppressive therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunosuppression for a solid organ transplant when their vaccines were administered.
Patients on drugs or therapies for chronic inflammatory conditions which would affect their immune response - such as steroids or drugs used for autoimmune diseases such as arthritis - are also being encouraged to get their extra doses.
The NHS in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is advising everyone with a weakened immune system to get their third primary dose followed by a booster to ensure that they are protected against COVID-19.
Patients can get their third primary dose two months (61 days) after their second jab. A booster dose can then be administered three months (91 days) after the third dose has been given.
They will be able to book an appointment online for their booster dose from two months (61 days) since their previous dose where they will be shown appointments from three months (91 days) date onwards. Alternatively, patients needing this booster can attend walk-in clinics from 91 days after their third dose without booking ahead.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the vaccination programme in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Vaccines are the most effective way we have to protect ourselves against the COVID-19 virus and we should do everything we can to ensure that we keep ourselves and our families safe.
“People with weakened immune systems need three doses of vaccine to have the same level of protection as non-immunosuppressed people who have had two doses, so they are being offered the extra jabs to boost their immune response.
“We would urge everybody eligible to get their extra vaccines as soon as they can to give them better immunity and greater peace of mind.”
Any patients who had their third primary dose more than three months ago may have already been contacted by local GP services or hospital to arrange an appointment for a booster dose. If they have booked this jab or already received it, they do not need to do anything else at this stage.
If a patient has been contacted about a booster dose but has not yet booked an appointment, they should do so as soon as possible online by visiting www.nhs.uk/book-covid-booster or by calling 119.
Any patient attending a clinic to receive their third or booster vaccine must present a letter from their hospital consultant or GP team – this can be the letter they received advising them to have a third primary dose or inviting them for their fourth booster dose.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination clinics and how to get your jab please visit https://www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/coronavirus/getting-your-covid-19-vaccination/how-to-get-your-covid-19-vaccination
You don’t need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to get your jab, but it will be quicker if you do, so take that information with you if you can.
Don’t miss out. Get vaccinated and get protected.