People in Lincolnshire who are immunosuppressed are once again being strongly encouraged to come forwards for their third primary dose of the covid vaccination by the NHS in the county.
Being immunosuppressed means having a weakened immune system and this can be due either to certain diseases or conditions, such as some cancers, AIDS, and certain genetic disorders, or as a result of receiving certain medicines or treatments like anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant.
“If someone is immunosuppressed it means they have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. In the case of covid, it also means they may not mount a full immune response to a primary covid vaccination, and this is why we are asking immunosuppressed people to come back for a third primary vaccination,” explains Rebecca Neno, Director of Covid and Influenza Vaccination Programmes, NHS Lincolnshire CCG.
Some studies have suggested that immunosuppressed people may benefit from a third primary dose of the covid vaccination, due to the increased immune responses this can bring.
“So the advice for immunosuppressed people is to have a third primary dose of the covid vaccination, to give them the maximum possible protection,” comments Rebecca. “It’s worth pointing out that a third primary dose is not the same as a booster vaccination. It’s called a third primary dose because it is part of your primary course of vaccination, which means it’s in the same group as your first and second doses. The third primary dose is only being offered to people who are immunosuppressed, or who were immunosuppressed at the time of their first of second vaccination.
“Most eligible people will now have a letter sent to them by the national team or will have been provided with a letter confirming eligibility from their hospital consultant. We are encouraging all those with a letter that still haven’t accessed a third primary dose to walk-in at either of our two Mass Vaccination Centres at PRSA, Boston, or at the Lincolnshire Showground. You will not be able to pre-book this appointment. Please remember to bring your letter of eligibility with you when you attend our vaccine centres.
“Please also remember – this third primary dose for immunosuppressed people should be given ideally at least eight weeks after the second dose. It’s also important to bear in mind current or planned immunosuppressive therapies – if you are in any doubt and/or on a cyclical type of treatment – for example if you are receiving radiotherapy – you first need to discuss with your GP or hospital consultant.”
The Green Book, which is published by the government and has the latest information on vaccines and vaccine procedures, includes a chapter on covid and outlines criteria for eligibility for a third primary dose of the covid vaccination.
“This may help some people to understand whether they are eligible for a third primary dose or not. Of particular help might be the table on p21 of chapter 14a that outlines criteria for a third primary dose. Having said that, I would again strongly encourage you to speak with your GP or hospital consultant,” concludes Rebecca.