COVID-19 spring booster available at community pharmacies
Community pharmacies across Northern Ireland are offering the COVID-19 spring booster vaccine to some eligible cohorts. The spring booster vaccine will help to prolong protection already received from initial COVID-19 vaccinations, ahead of any potential wave of the virus over the summer months.
This year’s spring booster will be offered to:
- Residents in a care home.
- Adults aged 75 years and over.
- Individuals aged 5 years and over who are immunosuppressed.
Dr Joanne McClean, Director of Public Health at the Public Health Agency (PHA), said: “COVID-19 is more serious in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions and for these reasons they are being offered a spring booster of COVID-19 vaccine. I would urge everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up the offer of free vaccination when available.”
Those eligible may have already been offered an appointment and you should be offered an appointment before end of June, with those at highest risk being called first. You will be invited to have your booster around six months from your last dose but you can have it from three months.
The vaccines are being rolled out to eligible groups via GPs, community pharmacies and HSC Trusts.
If you haven’t already received an invite from your GP or your GP does not currently offer the booster call into your local community pharmacy to find out if they are offering the vaccine.
You can get your spring booster at a participating community pharmacy if you are:
- aged 75 and over (born before 31 March 1948);
- aged 18 to 74 and are immunosuppressed.
In addition, community pharmacies will be visiting care homes to vaccinate eligible residents and Trusts will vaccinate those immunosuppressed individuals aged five to under 18 years of age, as identified by their GP. Housebound patients will be identified by GP’s and the Trust District Nursing teams will administer vaccinations.
Dr McClean continued: “The vaccination programme here has been a huge success with over four million doses delivered across the programme so far, it has saved lives, allowed us to live with COVID-19. However, the virus hasn’t gone away, and could potentially result in a real health threat, particularly for vulnerable members of our community. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases as they teach our immune system how to recognise and fight viruses.
“Therefore the PHA is urging everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up the offer of the spring booster as it will reduce the chance of you becoming severely unwell from COVID-19 this spring and summer.”
For further information on the spring booster see www.pha.site/springbooster or www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/get-covid-19-vaccination-northern-ireland
The spring booster will be offered to individuals aged five years and over with a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed), as defined in tables three and four in the COVID-19 chapter of the Green Book.