As the largest ever NHS vaccination programme enters its last lap Chair of NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Sarah Whiteman has encouraged local residents to come forward for their first jab and remember to get their second dose, which they called “vital and lifesaving”.
The plea comes as people aged 40 and over are now able to book in their second jab on the national booking system from eight weeks after their first dose.
With everyone over the age of 21 now able to book in for the lifesaving vaccine, eligible people are being urged to get their first or second jab as soon as possible.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens announced on Tuesday that all people aged 18 and over will be eligible for the lifesaving jab by the end of the week.
Research this week showed how important the second jab is at protecting people against the Delta/Indian variant.
Studies have found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be 96% effective against hospitalisation after two doses, while the Oxford-AztraZenaca is 92% effective.
The last push comes as the NHS in England passed the milestone of having delivered 60 million doses across England in just six months.
Almost a million vaccinations* have been given so far in the BLMK region here, at over 60 local vaccination sites.
Dr Sarah Whiteman said: “Thanks to the incredible work of NHS staff up and down the country, more than three quarters of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with over half having received both.
“I am thrilled than in BLMK, many of our adults have taken up the offer of the jab and in doing so, are helping the country as a whole beat this devastating virus.
“The offer of the vaccine is evergreen, so if you have been invited but are yet to make an appointment, please do so today and bring us one step closer to freedom.”
Bedfordshire resident, Stephanie Clements, age 44, said: “I’m extremely grateful for everything the NHS has done to ensure everyone gets the change to get vaccinated against COVID.
“If I can encourage one person to have the vaccine, I’ll be very happy, it’s the best chance we’ve got in getting our lives back after such a terrible twelve months. If you’re due to have your second jab, don’t put it off.
“I’m looking forward to when the current restrictions are over and being able to get back out again, doing what I love and reconnecting with my friends. Let’s get vaccinated and get back out there!”
Bookings can be made via the National Booking Service, while people who cannot get online can call the service on 119 for extra support in doing so.
The service will open to those in their early 20s in the coming days.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to making a booking.
Vaccinations are being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of the people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
You will be offered a choice of appointments at NHS Vaccination Centres or pharmacy-led vaccination services, as well as some GP-led sites.