The NHS in Gloucestershire is reassuring people who are eligible for a COVID booster that they will receive an invitation from local NHS services to book in for their vaccination when the time is right, there is no need for them to contact their GP surgery at this time.

This comes as the government confirms it has accepted the final advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer vulnerable people a COVID-19 booster vaccine this winter.

The programme will be rolled out to care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals (people who have reduced ability to fight infections).

There will be flexibility in the programme, allowing all those eligible to receive their booster from 6 months after their second doses. This approach will allow more vulnerable people to be given their boosters quicker.

The bulk of booster vaccinations will continue to be provided by appointment through the 10 GP led primary care network community vaccination centres across the county.

People will also have the choice to arrange their booster vaccination through the national booking system (NBS) telephone number and website, with a number of community pharmacy locations available. More information on this will follow soon.

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Local GP services have been busy preparing for the anticipated booster programme to ensure vaccines can be rolled out as quickly as possible. We want to reassure residents that they will be able to have their vaccination in Gloucestershire and local GP services will be in contact, so we would also ask people to please be patient, the NHS will invite you to book your vaccinations when its your turn.

This is an extremely busy time for local GP services and we are grateful for the public’s support , their patience and understanding as Practice staff pull out all the stops to support the vaccination programme, whilst providing day to day medical care to patients. Again we politely ask that people continue to be kind to very busy practice staff.”

The government has also confirmed that following advice from the Chief Medical Officers in the UK, all children aged 12 to 15 years old will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Community NHS services will be in touch with parents of children in this age group soon, with details of the offer of a vaccine to be delivered through schools.

John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We have a strong history of providing vaccinations to young people in Gloucestershire, and we have been working on plans to deliver the COVID vaccine to this age group for some time, pending the outcome of national discussions and decisions.

Our team will be in touch with parents, guardians or carers in the coming weeks to seek consent in line with existing school vaccination programmes. To support people in making a decision we will be setting up a dedicated email address and advice line for any parents or young people who may wish to have a more detailed conversation before making a decision on whether to take up the offer. This information will be included in the letters that will be sent out soon.”