With the push to get everyone aged 18 and over (16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk of getting seriously ill from covid) boosted having gained significant momentum across the county in the run-up to Christmas, people who are immunosuppressed and/or living with underlying conditions that classify them as ‘clinically vulnerable’ are being asked to urgently come forwards for their vaccinations.
“In fourteen days between 14th and 29th December (not including Christmas Day and Boxing Day when vaccination sites were closed), we have given 119,036 booster vaccinations, which is incredible,” comments Rebecca Neno, Director of Covid and Influenza Vaccination Programmes, NHS Lincolnshire CCG.
“But there’s still a lot of people out there who haven’t been boosted, including immunosuppressed and clinically vulnerable people, and we are really keen they come forwards as soon as possible for their vaccinations.”
People with a weakened immune system have been offered a third primary dose and subsequently a booster dose of the covid vaccination because when they had their first two doses, the vaccine may not have given them as much protection as it can for people who do not have a weakened immune system.
“Being immunosuppressed and having a weakened immune system can be due to certain diseases or conditions, like some cancers, AIDS, and some genetic disorders, or as a result of receiving certain medicines or treatments like anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant,” explains Rebecca.
“If you are immunosuppressed/have a weakened immune system, a third primary dose – and subsequently a booster dose – of the covid vaccination may help give you better protection, which again is why we are asking you to come forwards as quickly as possible, and there needs to be eight weeks between your second dose and third primary dose, and three months between the third primary dose and booster.
“As with everyone, getting the maximum protection is even more important now given the rise of the Omicron variant, and so it is important to ensure you have your third and booster doses at the appropriate intervals.”
If you are immunosuppressed and have a letter confirming this from your hospital consultant or GP, you can have your vaccination – whether that’s your third primary dose or your booster dose – on a walk-in basis at either of the county’s two Mass Vaccination Centres at PRSA, Boston, or at the Lincolnshire Showground, but please remember to bring your letter with you. Alternatively, you can book your vaccination online using the National Booking System if you are aged 18 or over.
People classed as clinically vulnerable are also being urged to come forwards for their vaccinations as soon as possible too.
“These are the people in cohort 6, so that’s anyone aged 16 to 65 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, for example – chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and vascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease (for a full list see Notes to Editors),” adds Rebecca.
“We have a sizeable number in Lincolnshire who fall into the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category and who have not yet come forwards for their vaccinations, or perhaps have had first or first and second doses but no booster. As with immunosuppressed people, I cannot emphasise enough how important is it for you to come and get your vaccinations, again with particular reference to the very rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
“We continue to do everything in our power to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get their vaccinations, whether that’s getting boosted, or getting first and second doses, but people who are clinically vulnerable and/or immunosuppressed are arguably at greatest risk. We are here to help, there are plenty of vaccinations, and we have lots of capacity at our vaccination sites, particularly going into next week, so please don’t put off getting vaccinated any longer,” adds Rebecca.