Hundreds of thousands of people who are at risk and more likely to become seriously ill are yet to come forward for their COVID-19 boosters.
Around 6.4 million people are eligible for the jab because of a medical condition and while the NHS has now invited everyone, people are also able to self-declare if they think they should have been invited or, for example, because they have only recently become eligible. So far around 350,000 people have self-declared as being at risk in order to get their jab.
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‘While we have seen fantastic uptake of the covid booster, we know that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are at increased risk of serious illness and hospitalisation from covid but are yet to come forward,’ said NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis.
‘Some of these people may not even be aware that they or a loved one meet the criteria to get a jab due to an existing condition they have.’
It takes up to 14 days to get maximum protection from a booster dose and with Christmas fast approaching, healthcare leaders are asking the public to act now ahead of the festive period. So far more than 16 million people have had a covid booster while 18 million have had a flu jab.
More than seven in 10 (71%) people considered severely immunosuppressed have had a top jab. Carers and household contacts of anyone with a weakened immune system are also able to get a booster jab on the NHS, in addition to everyone over 50 and health and social care workers.
‘It is so important that anyone who is considered to be at risk or has a weakened immune system, as well as their household contacts and carers, gets a covid booster in order to protect themselves and also the people they care for or live with especially as we head into the busy festive season, which we all want to enjoy in a safe way,’ said NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell.