Covid booster jab: All over-18s in Sheffield to be offered NHS vaccine top-up amid Omicron variant fears
Covid booster jabs are to be rolled out to all over-18s in Sheffield as concerns around the Omicron variant grow.
The Covid-19 vaccine booster programme is now to be extended to everyone above the age of 18 years old, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
It comes after 11 cases of the new strain were recorded in the UK – six in England and five in Scotland.
A number of announcements were made in light of fears of how quickly the new variant can spread, including advice on a reduction in the amount of time between the second vaccine dose and a booster jab and giving a second vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds.
Here is everything you need to know about the new announcements and what it means for people in Sheffield.
What are the latest rules on Covid booster jabs?
The JCVI made the announcement of the changes to the vaccine booster programme and recommended that the current vaccine booster programme, which had only been open to vulnerable adults and those aged over 40, be made available to all adults over the age of 18.
Age groups will be offered their vaccine in order of descending age.
They also recommended the duration of time between a person’s second vaccine and their booster will be cut from six months to three months.
It was also announced that young people aged 12 to 15 should be offered a second dose of the vaccine, with a time gap of no less than 12 weeks after their first dose.
When can over 18s book a Covid booster jab in Sheffield?
Anyone over 18 will be able to book their Covid-19 booster in the coming weeks, after the programme was previously extended to healthy 40 to 49-year-olds.
The roll-out was originally only for the over 50s, health workers and anyone with an underlying health condition, but it is now being extended again to ‘help extend our protection into 2022’.
The amount of time needed between your second dose and your booster jab is set to be cut from six months to three months, although full details on how this will work have not yet been announced.
When eligible, you will receive a text, email or letter to let you know and invite you to book your booster – booster jabs are being given out in descending age order.
How to book Covid booster jab in Sheffield
Once invited by the NHS, you can book your Covid booster appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination for one of the vaccination centres across the region.
Alternatively, you can book by phoning 119.
The booster programme is being delivered through pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres.
And to make it even easier, six walk-in vaccination centres in Sheffield are now offering booster jabs.
You can attend a walk-in centre without an appointment, providing you are eligible to receive your dose.
The six centres in Sheffield are:
– Heeley Parish Church, S2
– Page Hall Pharmacy, S4
– Sheffield NHS Vaccine Centre on Longley Lane, S5
– Upwell Pharmacy, S4
– St Oswald’s Church, S7
– Seven Hills Pharmacy, S5
What Covid booster vaccine will I be given?
The JCVI said people should be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab as a booster, regardless of which vaccine they had initially.
16 and 17-year-olds are also being encouraged to come forward for their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
A new study from the UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) has highlighted how boosters can significantly increase people’s protection against getting a symptomatic case of Covid.
The study showed that two weeks after getting their booster, adults over 50 had at least 93 per cent reduced risk of getting a symptomatic case of Covid-19, with protection against more severe disease and death expected to be even higher.
Are there any side effects to Covid booster jabs?
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said ‘Covid-19 vaccines continue to have a positive safety profile for the majority of people’.
She added: “The vast majority of reactions which are reported relate to expected side-effects such as injection site reactions and flu-like symptoms, as was seen in our initial assessment.
“Our proactive monitoring of the safety of booster doses does not raise any new concerns.”
What have Sheffield health experts said about the Covid booster jab?
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination, and people can now go online, find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay.
“The booster is not just a nice to have – it is really important protection ahead of what we know will be a challenging winter. So if you are eligible, please do check the site finder and go get your jab.”
Dr Yvette Oade, the NHS clinical lead for the Covid vaccination programme for the North East and Yorkshire, has called on people to book their top-up vaccine as soon as they’re invited to ensure they get extra protection ahead of winter.
“The vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your family and friends as we head into winter when we know Covid can present a bigger risk to our health,” she said.
“I encourage anyone who has received an invite to come forward for their booster jab as soon as they can and protect themselves and their loved ones. A booster vaccine will prolong the protection you have already developed from your first and second doses ahead of the winter.”