Final Push for COVID-19 Vaccine

Living Magazines Dr Jane Halpin

As the largest ever NHS vaccination programme enters its last lap, Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, has encouraged local residents to come forward for their first jab and remember to get their second dose, which she called ‘vital and lifesaving’.

The plea comes as people aged 40 and over are now able to book in their second vaccination on the national booking system or by ringing 119 from eight weeks after their first dose.

With everyone over the age of 18 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.

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-AztraZeneca 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.

Across Hertfordshire and west Essex, over 1.6 million doses of the vaccine have been given so far. Almost 74% of eligible adults have had their first dose and over 680,000 people have had their second – meaning 54% of the eligible adult population is fully vaccinated. It’s vital that the remaining people complete their course to ensure they get full protection as soon as possible.

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: ‘Thanks to the incredible work of NHS staff up and down the country, around three quarters of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with over half having received both.

‘I am thrilled that in Hertfordshire and west Essex so many people have had their vaccination and are helping the country as a whole beat this devastating virus.

‘If you’ve been offered the vaccine before but haven’t yet taken it up, don’t worry. The offer of the vaccine will not expire – so if you have been invited but haven’t made an appointment yet, please do so today and bring us one step closer to freedom.’

Joanna Willis, 43 from Hitchin, received her second COVID-19 vaccination at the Da Vinci vaccination site in Letchworth this week. Joanna said: ‘I am currently training to become a teacher which involves face-to-face contact with children and their parents, some of whom are also vulnerable. I feel it’s my personal responsibility to get my second vaccination not just to protect myself, but also anyone else I may meet. It’s the right thing to do and it’s so quick and easy to have your second dose. Everyone at the vaccination centre here in Letchworth has been so kind and efficient. There’s no point being only partially protected with one dose – I’d really urge everyone to get their second COVID-19 jab to get the best possible protection available!’

Bookings for first and second doses 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.

Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to making a booking.

People in Hertfordshire and west Essex who are eligible for the jab can also go to one of the local walk-in sessions being offered at some vaccination centres, without the need for an appointment. Locations, details on vaccines and opening times are available here. Walk-in sessions are on a first come, first served basis. People should check the website before travelling, be prepared to queue in all weathers and bring a drink of water – it’s also advisable to have a snack and a drink before setting off to the vaccination centre.

Vaccinations are being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of 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.