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From today, local people no longer have to wait to receive an invitation from the NHS to have their COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Now, anyone in an eligible group who had their 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago, which is Easter-time/mid-April or before, can go to a walk-in, no-appointment clinic for a booster vaccination, book via the national NHS website or call 119.

Previously, people had to wait to receive a letter or text from the NHS saying they were eligible. The number of locations where people can have their booster vaccination has also been increased, including a number of local pharmacies now offering booked appointments, in addition to around 60 walk-in clinics which are taking place locally over the coming weeks – full details at www.sneevaccine.org.uk

So far 34,588 booster vaccines have been administered across the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS), and this latest move aims to encourage even speedier take-up.

People are eligible for a booster six months after receiving their 2nd dose, and include those aged 50 years and over, frontline volunteers and health and social care staff, people with severely weakened immune systems and their resident household contacts and those aged under 50 with an underlying health condition.

Elizabeth Moloney, who is leading the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme across the ICS, said: “The booster rollout began last month and it’s pleasing that so many people have taken up the offer. “Yet we are mindful that we need to administer as many booster vaccinations as possible to those who are eligible, so that their health can be best protected over the winter months.

“We know too that vaccinated people are far less likely to suffer complications of COVID-19, helping reduce the number of hospitalisations and pressure on our busy health services this winter, which is another reason for getting the booster into as many people as quickly as possible.

“If you meet the eligibility criteria, please don’t wait to get your booster.”

Visit the local vaccination website for information and FAQs at www.sneevaccine.org.uk