Immunosuppressed People Urged To Get Vaccine Booster

People who are immunosuppressed have been urged to top up their COVID-19 protection this spring.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has said that individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed should receive a spring booster dose of the vaccine, typically six months after their last dose to ensure they have the best protection against becoming ill with COVID-19.

Immunosuppression means you have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or because you are on medication or treatment that suppresses your immune system. This includes patients undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant, those living with HIV infection or genetic disorders affecting the immune system, and those who require long term immunosuppressive treatment for conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.

Rachel Spiers, Immunisation and Vaccination Programme Manager at the PHA, said: "People who are immunosuppressed may have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases, including COVID-19. For this reason immunosuppressed individuals are being offered a spring booster of the vaccine to ensure they have the best protection against future waves of infection.
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"Most people with immunosuppression will be under the care of a hospital specialist or GP and if they have any questions they should speak to them about the vaccine. I would urge everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up the offer of free vaccination."

The COVID-19 spring booster vaccination programme got underway last month, giving the more vulnerable members of our community the opportunity to top up their protection ahead of any potential waves of COVID-19 over the coming months.

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.

All those eligible will be offered an appointment before the end of 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.

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