Deadline approaching for Covid and flu jab bookings in Dorset

MORE than 215,000 people in Dorset have had a Covid vaccine ahead of the autumn and winter months – with 70,000 having their flu jab at the same time.

The NHS has revealed a total of 219,000 Covid vaccines have been given, as the deadline for online and phone bookings for the jab and flu vaccines approaches.

The service is urging anyone else who is eligible, to book an appointment ahead of Christmas.

Online bookings through the NHS system, the NHS App and the 119 phone service will be closed for flu and Covid vaccine bookings from Friday (December 15) – making Thursday the last day to make a booking.

There are still hundreds of appointments available in the final week across the county, offering extra protection to those eligible who have not yet come forward.

Paul Johnson, chief medical officer at NHS Dorset, said: “Vaccination is the best way for people to ensure they and their families are protected against flu and Covid this Christmas, a time when we tend to gather inside together and viruses spread more easily.

“It takes about two weeks following vaccination to build up the maximum defences against the viruses, so it’s important to get protected early.

“Getting vaccinated as soon as possible will help reduce your risk of getting seriously ill with flu or Covid this festive season.

“Even if you have had a vaccine before, or been ill with flu or Covid recently, the seasonal booster vaccine will help top-up your ability to fight these viruses, as immunity fades over time.”

After December 15, people can get vaccinations through NHS vaccination services such as pharmacies, GP practices or community hospital walk-in sites. However, there will be fewer Covid appointments.

Covid jabs can be booked through local services until January 31. After that, vaccinations will close, and people will be required to wait for a future seasonal campaign – unless they develop a new health condition or start treatment that severely weakens the immune system, in which case a clinician may advise vaccination sooner.

The free flu vaccine offer will close after March 31, with people advised to get it as soon as possible to ensure protection over the colder months,when flu is usually more prevalent.

For children, the flu vaccine, usually given as a nasal spray, will be offered in schools until December 15. Parents can call to book an appointment for their two- or three-year-olds, or for children with certain health conditions, at their GP practice until March 31.

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