Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines
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Vulnerable people across England will begin receiving invitations for the spring Covid booster from Monday. Care home residents, people who are 75 and over and those who are immunosuppressed will be able to book from 7am. The booster will be made available to around five million people, with 600,000 expected to receive invitations in the first week.
Local NHS teams will also be contacting care homes to arrange the jab for people who are eligible and have been invited.
The move comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the spring top-up as a precautionary measure.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Spring boosters will help top up the immunity of the elderly and the most vulnerable to ensure they are protected and will help us continue to live with this virus.
“Thanks to the NHS for rising to the challenge yet again to get people boosted. Please come forward as soon as you are contacted.”
The NHS said it will invite people to arrange a jab through the national booking service, which can be accessed online at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119, when it is their turn.
What are the side effects to expect?
“As with your previous dose, the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK,” explains the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
- Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection – this tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
- Feeling tired
- General aches or mild flu-like symptoms.
The UKHSA says: “You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help you feel better.
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“Although a fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and you may need to have a test.”
According to the health body, symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week.
If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you can call NHS 111 or for textphone use 18001 111. You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme.
The Yellow Card scheme collects and monitors information on suspected safety concerns or incidents involving: medicines, vaccines, medical devices, and e-cigarettes.
Recent research from the UKHSA estimated just over 157,000 hospitalisations had been avoided through the vaccination programme since December.
But the NHS said hospitals had still treated over 100,000 since the start of the Omicron wave.
Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy SRO for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, said: “Sadly, we are still seeing large numbers of people seriously unwell in hospital with Covid so it remains vital that those most at risk come forward when they are invited to do so.
“The response so far from the public to the largest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history has been incredible, with more than nine in 10 people aged 75 and over getting their initial booster.”
Doctor Kanani added: “The NHS Covid vaccination programme is once again ready to get people protected, so when you are invited please do come forward for your spring dose.”
Health chiefs are expecting high uptake of spring boosters among people aged 75 and over after 4.5 million of them had their top-up jab over autumn and winter.
The NHS said it has recruited additional call handlers for the 119 service to help people book their vaccine appointments, while hundreds of sites including community pharmacies, vaccination centres and hospital hubs will administering the booster.
The health body also continues to offer first, second, and third doses for those who are yet to come forward for one.
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