As we celebrate half a million people in Hampshire and Isle of Wight getting their COVID booster, health leaders share plea for those eligible yet to get vaccinated to book now and help save lives

Hardworking and dedicated teams from GP practices, community pharmacies, roving clinics and hospital hubs across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are celebrating the delivery of over half a million doses of the autumn COVID booster vaccine to eligible residents.

Currently all people aged 50 years plus, as well as pregnant women, carers, and those aged under 50 but considered higher risk due to health conditions such as severe mental illness, certain types of cancer, and HIV or AIDS are eligible to book an appointment or visit a walk-in centre to get vaccinated. Care home residents and staff are being visited to get vaccinated, while health and social care workers can in some areas receive the vaccine through their place of work or book an appointment elsewhere.

Getting vaccinated and being up to date with your doses, helps reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell should you catch the virus, which we know has been on the increase in our local communities and health services over the last few months. Getting vaccinated as soon as possible, means you are protected before winter when people are more likely to socialise indoors and spread viruses.

There are bookable appointments available across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in locations such as community pharmacies and larger clinics over the next few weeks through the National Booking Service, while you can find your nearest walk-in online. You may also be invited to get vaccinated by your GP practice.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and Clinical Lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “We are delighted to have passed the milestone of giving half a million autumn boosters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and on behalf of all of us involved in the programme, would like to thank everyone who’s come forward. Despite this great achievement, we know there is still more to be done and time is running out for people to book in for this booster dose.

“Getting boosted means you are reducing your risk of getting seriously unwell from the virus and we know vaccination can save lives. There are appointments available across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and while some people experience mild side effects after getting vaccinated, getting it done now means you are protected ahead of winter and the festive period.

“We know from uptake so far that our communities want to protect not only themselves, but their loved ones too. If you are yet to get vaccinated, please don’t delay as the booster programme is due to finish in December and we want to help keep people safe.”

We are particularly keen to encourage people aged between 50 and 70 who are yet to get boosted to come forward, as being vaccinated not only protects you, but those around you including elderly more vulnerable relatives. The autumn booster helps raise your levels of defence against the virus, which can reduce over time. You may be offered it alongside your flu vaccine if eligible and it is safe to have both at the same time.

Anyone eligible who has not yet taken up the offer of a first, second or booster dose is strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible to ensure they are protected. The offer of a COVID-19 jab is not time-limited and there is no judgement around your reason to delay, so anyone eligible can have the vaccine – even if they have previously declined and changed their mind.