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Put a COVID-19 booster to the top of your Christmas list

Vaccination teams in Calderdale are preparing to offer boosters to everyone eligible by the end of January.

In response to concerns about the new Omicron variant, the JCVI has recommended that booster vaccinations should be offered to all adults and that the gap between the second dose and booster is reduced to a minimum of 3 months.People who are severely immunosuppressed and have had their third dose will also be offered a booster, a minimum of 3 months after their third dose.

These recommendations will come into effect from13 December.The NHS is inviting people most at risk from the virus first and is working through age groups in stages. People are asked not to contact their GP practice for an appointment and to wait for their invitation.

Currently people aged 40 and over are eligible for their booster at 6 months, as well as those with underlying health conditions, and health and care workers.

Over 55,000 boosters or third doses have already been given in Calderdale and the team are committed to giving more this winter.

Local GP and clinical lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme Dr Lisa Pickles, said: “While we are just two weeks away from Christmas and very much looking forward to spending time with loved ones, the emergence of the new variant is a concern for us all. We know people are keen to receive their life saving protection and we’re doing everything possible to boost the most vulnerable as quickly as we can.

“If you are eligible today, and have been invited to get your booster, please put it to the top of your Christmas list and get that jab. Visit www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or call 119 for free.”

To support with the roll out, a new vaccination clinic has opened at Salem Methodist Church, Halifax. An appointment is not needed at this clinic, however eligible people are encouraged to book an appointment to avoid disappointment.

Salem Methodist Church joins a number of GP and pharmacy-led clinics also offering walk-in appointments to people for their first and second doses of the vaccination. It is never too late to get this essential protection.

More information on attending Salem Methodist Church, and full details of all walk-in vaccination clinics in Calderdale can be found at www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk/grabajab

As the vaccination programme progresses the team needs volunteers to support at their clinics.

Neil Smurthwaite, Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccination Programme in Calderdale, said: “We’ve been vaccinating for almost a year and our clinical teams have been supported by a brilliant team of volunteers and COVID-19 champions throughout this time who have shown kindness and true Calderdale spirit.

“We continue to need this support and if anyone can help by giving even just a few hours I’d encourage you to do so. Together we can support each other and help keep people safe this winter.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at a clinic should email covidchampions@vsialliance.org.uk