Spring Covid booster jab on offer to hundreds of thousands of North East patients

Patient receives Covid booster
More than 300,000 people across the North East are eligible for a Covid spring booster. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

While Covid may no longer making headlines day-to-day, a new campaign is reminding people that the dangers of the virus have not disappeared.

A spring booster vaccination programme is underway between now and the end of June, offering a top-up dose to older patients as well as those with weakened immune systems.

GP Dr Janet Walker, who is involved in the programme across the North East said it is about preventing people becoming seriously ill.

She told ITV Tyne Tees: "For most people getting Covid now is a mild illness, it doesn't make you very unwell but there are some patients who, if they get Covid, unfortunately could become much more poorly and potentially become poorly enough to end up in hospital and that's what we want to avoid."

Who is eligible for a Covid spring booster?

Around 342,000 people across the North East will be able to receive a top-up dose. These include:

  • People aged 75 and over

  • People of five years and above who have a weakened immune system

  • Residents of care homes

Across the North East, thousands of care homes residents have already received their latest dose.

For others, the vaccination programme is being run from GP practices and community pharmacies.

Pharmacist Vaibhav Chhatwal, who works across East Cleveland, said there are many benefits to holding vaccination sessions at venues like his.

He said: "They see a highly trained professional ... a familiar face when they come to see somebody in the pharmacy because they get their prescriptions here as well."

Mr Chhatwal added: "They get their flu jabs, or the previous campaigns being done at the same place, so there's a trust element as well."

"If they've got any side effects they can come back here so they've got that kind if accessibility."

  • Watch Helen Ford's report here:

How do I book a spring booster?

  • Use the online NHS National Booking Service

  • Ring 119

  • Alternatively you can wait until you are contacted by your GP practice

People are asked not to turn up at a vaccination venue without an appointment.

The latest drive is not on the scale of the mass vaccination programmes seen at the height of the pandemic.

Dr Walker said it is still important for people in at-risk groups to maintain their protection.

She added: "Over time we know that your immunity fades and just to make sure that it's tip top and you've boosted it, that's why we want to top people up and get them boosted."

The spring Covid booster programme will run until 30 June which is also the last date - for the time being - that people can receive their very first or second Covid vaccines.

After that, anyone wanting those initial doses will have to wait until the next seasonal vaccination campaign which is expected in the autumn.

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