Over the last week, many constituents have contacted me to share their experience of making an appointment for a Covid-19 booster vaccination.
I appreciate that, as we go through the autumn and winter, people are worried about COVID-19. In particular, I know that many are concerned by waning vaccine protection. It is welcome, therefore, that booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine are being given to those who were vaccinated in the first phase of the rollout earlier this year, six months after an individual’s second dose.
As of this morning, 55% of those eligible in Norfolk have received either a booster or third primary dose. I am in frequent contact with local NHS managers who are working quickly to ensure people get their booster dose. With the ongoing effort to encourage the adult population to receive initial doses, alongside the expansion of the vaccination programme for 12-18-year-olds the local team are juggling many logistical challenges.
I understand local provision has been affected by a temporary closure of the Market Gates clinic due to staffing problems but this will reopen on Saturday 6th November. In addition to this, I have received confirmation that further local sites have been added to the National Booking Service in addition to the Market Gates centre. These are the Falkland Surgery and PharmacyExprezz on King Street.
Eligible people can get a booster jab by:
- Attending a clinic at a local GP surgery, if they are invited to. Patients are asked not to phone GP surgeries direct,
- Booking an appointment via the National Booking System at one of the sites across Norfolk and Waveney,
- Visiting a walk-in clinic in Norwich.
The three centres in Great Yarmouth mentioned above, are unsurprisingly extremely popular and available appointments are being booked up extremely quickly. That is why, when people try and use the National Booking System it may only give the option of further away centres. NHS staff can only make appointments available so far in advance, to make sure suitable staff and supplies are available.
If an appointment is not available locally, when you try to book, you may wish to try again or wait until invited to a local clinic by the NHS.
Our vaccine rollout has been phenomenal and, like the Government, I believe it is vital that we do everything possible to prolong the protection vaccines offer. I urge all those eligible to get their vaccine as soon as they can, so they have the strongest possible protection over the winter months.
You can find out all the local information about the vaccination programme, including booster vaccinations and third primary doses for the immunosuppressed, as well as the location of walk-in vaccination centres on the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group website.