People with weakened immune systems in Lancashire and South Cumbria urged to take up spring booster offer

NHS clinicians in Lancashire and South Cumbria are calling on people with weakened immune systems to come forward for their spring COVID-19 booster vaccination, to top up their protection against the virus.

The number of over-75s who have already received their booster jab is in line with previous phases of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and the NHS wants to ensure that there is a similar take-up by people who are immunosuppressed.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: “People who have a weakened immune system are at a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

“While we have learned to live with COVID, it hasn’t gone away entirely. That’s why it is so important that people who are immunosuppressed come forward to top up their protection against the virus.”

Those eligible and being offered the booster include people who have a weakened immune system due to some specific medications or conditions, such as a blood cancer, those currently having chemotherapy or radiotherapy, people with HIV, people who have had an organ, bone marrow or stem cell transplant and people who take medicines that increase their risk of infection or suppress their immune system.

Although people with long-term health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, have been eligible for previous doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the spring vaccine is not being offered to everyone with a medical condition.

Jane Scattergood, senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme, said that the booster is vital for “those whose immune system will not maintain the immunity given by the vaccine or the immunity given by having had COVID-19”.

She continued: “Immunity fades and wanes in a particular group of people – it’s in the very elderly, people over 75, and it is in people who have had their immune system compromised by receiving treatment for cancer, because of some other disease or illness such as HIV, or having their immune system squashed by other things such as anti-rejection drugs after a solid organ transplant, or medicines such as methotrexate for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

“If that’s you, then your immune system does need the extra boost of the COVID-19 vaccine in the spring and in the autumn.”

If you are unsure whether you have a weakened immune system, please contact your GP, pharmacy or specialist for advice. Eligible people are able to book a booster appointment through the NHS App or via the National Booking Service, by calling 119 or attending a walk-in centre.

Those who are invited for a spring booster dose should ensure that their appointment is scheduled at least three months from their last dose. The last date to book a spring booster dose is 29 June, with the final spring vaccinations on the following day, 30 June.

More information about eligibility for the COVID-19 spring vaccine if you have a weakened immune system can be found here: www.england.nhs.uk/who-is-at-increased-risk-from-covid-19


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