PHA Urges Uptake Of Covid-19 Spring Booster

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has called on communities to take the opportunity to top up their protection ahead of any potential waves of Covid-19 over the coming months.

Beginning today, Monday, 15 April, this year's spring booster will be offered to:

• adults aged 75 years old or over;

• residents in a care home for older adults;

• individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed.

Dr Joanne McClean, Director of Public Health at the PHA, said: "COVID-19 infection can cause more serious illness in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions. For these reasons they are being offered a spring booster of the vaccine to ensure they have the best protection against future waves of infection. I would urge everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up the offer of free vaccination when available.

"The virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly evolving, with new variants arising frequently. Some of these can become dominant and could cause further waves of infection. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent or reduce the impact of infectious diseases as they teach our immune system how to recognise and fight viruses."
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All those eligible will be offered an appointment between April and June, with those at highest risk being called first. They will be invited to have the booster around six months from the last dose but it can be given from three months since the last dose.

The vaccines are being rolled out to eligible groups via GPs, community pharmacies and HSC Trusts.

Community pharmacies will be visiting care homes to vaccinate eligible residents.

People aged 75+ will receive an invite in due course from their GP surgery or they could enquire if the vaccine is available via a community pharmacy or trust.

Immunosuppressed individuals aged 18 or over will receive their vaccination via GPs, community pharmacies and HSC Trusts.

Immunosuppressed individuals aged 6 months to 17 years of age, as identified by their GP or specialist, can receive their vaccine from HSC Trusts.

Housebound patients will be identified by GPs and the Trust District Nursing teams will administer vaccinations.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "I welcome the rollout of the COVID-19 spring booster programme. It's important that we continue to offer booster vaccinations to minimise the more serious health risks to older people and those who are immunosuppressed from future infection. I would urge everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up this opportunity and boost their protection."

For further information on the spring booster see www.nidirect.gov.uk/covidvaccine

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