Blog: The importance of vaccination in preventing disease
As partners across the system prepared to begin the Autumn COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign, the potential for increased risk due to a new variant has meant that plans have had to change at very short notice. This new variant of COVID-19 (BA.2.86), which was identified in the UK in August, has appeared in several countries in individuals with no travel history. Following this emergence, the advice from the UK Health Security Agency has been to bring forward the Autumn booster campaign. Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’s Covid-19 Vaccination Service, led by Shropshire Community Health Trust, has been working hard with partners in primary care and local pharmacies to bring forward the start of vaccine delivery.
In order to protect those at greatest risk of severe illness and reduce the potential impact on the NHS over the winter months, the ICS Covid Vaccination Service, led by Shropshire Community Health Trust (ShropCom) have been working hard with partners in Primary Care and Community Pharmacies to bring forward the start of vaccine delivery. This campaign will begin with residents in care homes from Monday 11th September and then expand to all eligible groups from Monday 18th September, bookable through the National Booking Service (Book, cancel or change a COVID-19 vaccination appointment - NHS (www.nhs.uk)).
The list of those eligible for the Autumn Booster is much wider than in the spring and this information is widely available on the GOV.UK websites and will be promoted across local communities within Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (STW). Essentially, this includes all those aged 65 and over, those in residential and care homes, those with long term illnesses that make them more at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infections. For Autumn, frontline healthcare staff will also be included and details of where eligible staff can access their vaccinations will be publicised shortly through individual Trust communications channels.
In the community, we will be operating, as previously, from clinics set up in village halls, fire stations, GP practices and Community Pharmacies right across the area. This will help us to reach out to as many people as possible and make it as accessible as possible for those where travel may be difficult.
In order to protect our patients, ourselves and our loved ones I encourage everyone eligible to come forward as soon as they can to receive your seasonal vaccination. We know that vaccines protect against severe illness, hospitalisations, and death from COVID-19. People who received an autumn booster last year were around 53% less likely to visit a hospital with COVID-19 within a month of receiving their immunisation, according to the UKHSA, compared to those who did not receive a booster.
From Monday 18th September, the vaccination service in partnership with hospital trusts will be providing eligible staff with pop up vaccine clinics, alongside staff flu clinics wherever possible. As a result, staff will have the opportunity to receive their vaccine during their working day.
As healthcare employees we are often asked for advice on a wide variety of topics by our friends and families, this is an opportunity to encourage the uptake of the vaccine offer and educate as many people as we can about the benefit of receiving both their Flu and Covid vaccine and protecting both yourselves and your loved ones.