COVID-19 SPRING BOOSTER PROGRAMME IS SET TO GET UNDERWAY
The COVID-19 spring booster programme is set to begin on Wednesday 12 April. The spring booster vaccine will help to prolong protection already received from initial COVID vaccinations, ahead of any potential wave of COVID-19 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 PHA, said: “COVID-19 is more serious in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions, 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.”
You should be offered an appointment between April and June, with those at highest risk being called in first. You will be invited to have your booster around 6 months from your last dose but you can have it from 3 months.
The vaccines are being rolled out to eligible groups via GPs, community pharmacies and HSC Trusts.
Community pharmacies will be visiting care homes to vaccinate eligible residents. People 75+ who are eligible for vaccination should receive an invite in due course from their GP surgery or they could enquire if the vaccine is available via a community pharmacy. Immunosuppressed individuals over the age of 18 will receive their vaccination via GP's or community pharmacies and Trusts will vaccinate those immunosuppressed individuals aged 5 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, and eased pressure on our health service. However, COVID 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 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 pha.site/springbooster or www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/get-covid-19-vaccination-northern-ireland
The spring booster will be offered to individuals aged 5 years and over with a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed), as defined in tables 3 or 4 in the COVID-19 chapter of the Green Book.