People living in Lancashire and South Cumbria who are eligible for a COVID-19 autumn booster vaccine and are yet to get it are urged to book now.
The NHS vaccination programme will have appointments available at sites across the region next week, giving everyone the opportunity to book a booster appointment if they have not already.
Sunday 12 February is the last day of the autumn booster campaign and will also be the final day for 16 to 49-year-olds who are not considered at risk to get a booster following updated JCVI advice, which recommended the offer ends in line with the current campaign.
Jane Scattergood, senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “Over the last two years, the Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme has administered almost 4.4 million doses, helping to ensure that the public have widespread protection from COVID-19 and its variants.
“Following the decision to bring the booster offer to an end, it is still important that people make an appointment in the next couple of weeks if they are still yet to have their booster.
“The JCVI will set out further guidance on who will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in future phases of the programme, and the NHS will make sure the vaccine is as accessible and convenient to those eligible – as it has been in each of the previous campaigns.”
The JCVI is recommending moving to a more targeted offer to those considered to be at risk of serious illness – as seen with the autumn campaign – and will set out further advice on future campaigns in due course.
It has already advised that there should be another autumn vaccination campaign later this year, as well as a potential spring campaign for the most vulnerable.
More than 17.3 million people have so far come forward for a booster throughout this winter.
The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme has delivered 144.5 million doses of the vaccine since Maggie Keenan became the first in the world to receive an approved jab.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “There is just one week left of the autumn booster campaign and so if you are eligible for a booster but have yet to take up your latest dose, please do so before the end of next week.
“Whether you have had previous doses or a bout of COVID-19, we know that a booster is the best way to maintain protection against serious illness from covid for yourself and your loved ones, so please do make the most of the offer while it is available and give yourself both protection and peace of mind for the year ahead.
“NHS staff have worked really hard to deliver a combined 38 million flu and COVID-19 doses this winter amid record pressures on emergency services, providing crucial protection and keeping thousands out of hospital, and they will be ready to stand up future campaigns with the same dedication and determination once new guidance is set out.”
The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme will continue to run a smaller operation after 12 February, allowing those yet to come forward for first, second or third doses if severely immunosuppressed, to book appointments.
The JCVI has advised that over the course of 2023 the primary course offer for healthy 16 to 49-year-olds should be withdrawn in favour of a more targeted approach.
The health service is prepared to stand up future campaigns once JCVI advice is confirmed by the Government on who will be eligible for covid vaccines in future phases of the programme.