People aged 40 and over in Portsmouth area encouraged to get Covid booster without appointment from vaccine bus

PEOPLE aged 40 and over are being encouraged to make us of a pop-up vaccine bus that will offer booster jabs without appointment in the Portsmouth area this weekend.

The bus will set up in Guildhall Walk on Friday, December 3 from 9am to 4pm for anyone in that age group who had their second vaccine at least six months ago.

It is hoped around 250 people will be vaccinated on the day and plans are in place for the bus to return to the city on December 10 and 17.

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Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-2020)

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council said: ‘Getting the vaccine, whether it's your first, second or booster dose, is vital.

‘And for anyone 40 and over who wants their booster, especially if they've found it difficult to arrange an appointment, will now have the opportunity to turn up on Friday and get theirs.

‘We are working very hard alongside our local NHS partners to ensure opportunities for everyone in the city to get their vaccinations and this offer will help broaden that opportunity.’

The bus will also visit Thorngate Way car park, Gosport, PO12 1HR, between 9am-4pm on December 4 and Bargate, in High Street, Southampton, on December 5.

Helen Atkinson, director of public health at Portsmouth City Council

Director of public health in Portsmouth, Helen Atkinson, said: ‘Now more than ever it's vital for those eligible to top up their immunity against coronavirus as we now know we are facing the new Omicron variant.

‘We don’t know for sure how the Omicron variant will behave, so we must use all the tools we have to help reduce the spread and protect ourselves, especially as we know respiratory viruses spread more in winter when we spend more time indoors with others.

‘Alongside having a booster dose of the vaccine and wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport where it's now mandatory, we can all keep doing the things that work to limit the spread of the virus. Washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering whenever you're in enclosed or busy places, limiting the number of people we meet, and getting tested remain the most effective things we can all do.’

The News is encouraging people to grab-a-jab

It comes as government recently announced the booster jabs will be offered to everyone aged 18 and over by the end of January.

If you can’t attend the booster bus sessions, or are not aged 40 and over, you are advised to wait to be contacted by the NHS for your booster jab.

Younger age groups will be invited by the NHS in due course in order of age, grouped into five-year age bands.

Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, added: ‘Healthwatch Portsmouth fully supports the accelerating of the Covid booster programme, as it will be crucial to see off the deadly wave of the new Covid variant Omicron. It is great that the latest government announcement is to offer the Covid boosters to the whole of the adult population, and so good that they have halved the gap between the second dose and booster to three months.

‘Healthwatch Portsmouth knows it will only make a difference if those jabs are in arms so we will be working locally on a communication plan to encourage as many people who are eligible to get the Covid Booster jab.’

Future locations for the booster bus in Portsmouth are yet to be decided but will be announced via council social media channels.

Some people, if aged 40 and over or 16 and over with underlying health conditions, are able to attend walk-in clinics for Covid boosters if it’s been six months since the last jab.

Jane Ansell, senior responsible officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: ‘Teams across Hampshire and Isle of Wight continue to do all they can to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘We are delighted to be able to offer eligible people the choice of attending one of our mobile booster buses, offering greater access to the vaccine. This could not be achieved without the incredible support of our partners and volunteers.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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