NHS South West marks second anniversary of the Covid-19 vaccine with booster plea ahead of Christmas

It’s two years on since the NHS in the South West gave the first covid vaccine on the 8th December 2020. Since then, they’ve given nearly 16 million vaccinations and are calling on the public to get boosted ahead of Christmas to provide crucial protection for yourselves and your loved ones.

Covid-19 cases are on the rise again and with people set to gather across the country for the festive period, the NHS is urging anyone eligible for a booster to come forward this weekend – two weeks until Christmas – which is exactly the amount of time it takes to get back up to around 90 per cent protection against serious illness from covid.

All counties across the South West are making the vaccine as accessible as possible ahead of Christmas – with pop-ups at community centres, places of worship and social events. Among those jabbing in the coming weeks is Portland Community Hospital, Lemon Quay in Truro, Greenlane Shopping Centre in Barnstaple, Bideford Community Hospital and Exeter Central Station.

NHS England South West’s Medical Director, Dr Michael Marsh said: “The success of the pioneering NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, which began two years ago, has saved lives, kept our communities safe, and has been the single most important reason we have been able to get back to a pre-pandemic way of life.

“The determination and dedication of our staff and volunteers, whether on the frontline or in the back office, to rollout the vaccine, is something we can all look back on with great pride – delivering nearly 16 million doses in the South West so far. Our staff are continuing to give thousands of covid and flu jabs every single day to protect us all from serious illness and our thanks go out to all the people across the South West that have taken the opportunity to protect themselves, their families and their communities by getting their vaccine.

“Health and care services are currently facing huge pressures from all angles – and while covid may feel like a thing of the past – in the South West we continue to deal with hundreds of covid hospitalisations as well as the resurgence of flu and other respiratory viruses. Just as it was two years ago, the best thing you can do to avoid serious illness and hospitalisation is to make sure you and your family are up to date with your covid and flu jabs.

“If you are yet to have them, please book in as soon as possible and take up the opportunities on offer around the region this weekend and into the coming weeks to ensure you have maximum protection over Christmas.”