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Open letter from NHS, charity and community leaders to people with a weakened immune system
We join together as NHS and charity leaders to encourage people with a weakened immune system to continue to book in or visit a walk-in centre for their COVID-19 vaccines. All individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are advised to receive a Spring booster dose of the vaccine, typically six months after their last dose.
COVID-19 is still out there and the vaccine offers the best defence against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing on the virus to loved ones and others around you. It is safe, effective and free for everyone, with thousands of convenient appointments every day. You do not even need to be registered with a GP practice to receive your vaccine.
If you are immunosuppressed, either due to a health condition or medical treatment, you may not yet have the best protection you can possibly get from the vaccine. Additionally, there may be some people who are immunosuppressed who have not been vaccinated at all and we urge them to come forward.
You should usually be contacted by the NHS when you are due a Spring booster. Please do take up this offer. If you haven’t heard and you think you may be eligible then you can book a vaccination and come forward.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that people with a weakened immune system receive their Spring booster as close as possible to six months after their last dose for maximum protection. However, the booster can be given from three months where necessary, depending on individual circumstances.
The NHS has made some changes which means it has never been easier to get your booster if you are immunosuppressed. After booking, you can bring one of several documents to the appointment to confirm you are eligible. This could be a letter from your GP or specialist advising you get the jab, a hospital letter about your condition or medication, or a prescription or medication box with your name and a date on it.
If you don’t have any of this evidence to hand, don’t worry – just speak to a clinician when you arrive for your appointment.
Vaccination appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, where you can also find out which vaccines you are eligible for. If you can’t go online, telephone 119 for the same information – calls are free and translators are available on request.
Whether one of your vaccines is overdue or you haven’t had your first yet, please be assured that it isn’t too late. We encourage you to book an appointment today.
Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Steve Russell, National Director for Vaccinations and Screening, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Dr Nikita Kanani MBE, Deputy Senior Responsible Officer, NHS Vaccine Deployment, and Medical Director for Primary Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Dr Jonathan Leach OBE, Medical Director for COVID-19 Vaccination, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Dr Bola Owolabi, Director, Healthcare Inequalities, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Henny Braund MBE, CEO, Anthony Nolan
Gemma Peters, CEO, Blood Cancer UK
Genevieve Edwards, CEO, Bowel Cancer UK
William Jones, CEO, Brainstrust
Alex Lochrane, CEO, The Brain Tumour Charity
Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO, Breast Cancer Now
Mr Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, President, British Islamic Medical Association
Pamela Healy OBE, CEO, British Liver Trust
Matthew Patey OBE, CEO, British Skin Foundation
Dr Sanjeev Patel, President, British Society for Rheumatology
Professor Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Chair, Cancer Black Care
Ian Walker, Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications, Cancer Research UK
Jane Lyons, CEO, Cancer52
Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Officer, Caribbean and African Health Network
Eddie Chan, Co-Chair, Chinese Welfare Trust
Sarah Sleet, CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis UK
Louise Ansari, National Director, Healthwatch England
Umesh Sharma, Chair, Hindu Council UK
Samantha Dixon, CEO, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Nick Turkentine, CEO, Kidney Cancer UK
Paul Bristow, CEO, Kidney Care UK
Zack Pemberton-Whiteley, CEO, Leukaemia Care
Fiona Hazell, CEO, Leukaemia UK
Paul Howard, CEO, LUPUS UK
Dr Anthony Cunliffe, National Clinical Advisor Primary Care, Macmillan Cancer Support
Nick Moberly, CEO, MS Society
Sophie Castell, CEO, Myeloma UK
Deborah Gold, CEO, National AIDS Trust
Dr Charlotte Augst, CEO, National Voices
Ali Stunt, CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Action
Diana Jupp, CEO, Pancreatic Cancer UK
Laura Kerby, CEO, Prostate Cancer UK
Helen McAteer, CEO, The Psoriasis Association
Richard Davidson, CEO, Sarcoma UK
Sue Farrington, CEO, Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK
Emma Willis, Co-CEO, Shine Cancer Support
Kirit Mistry, Chair, South Asian Health Action
Dr Binita Kane, Co-Founder, South Asian Heritage Month
Annwen Jones OBE, CEO, Target Ovarian Cancer
Kate Collins, CEO, Teenage Cancer Trust
Ian Green, CEO, Terrence Higgins Trust
Deborah Alsina MBE, CEO, Versus Arthritis