The rollout of booster jabs to older adults and some of the most vulnerable members of the community is due to start this week.
The operation will be on a similar scale to delivery of the first phase of jabs in January, with boosters given from six months after an individual’s second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer and Moderna jabs will be offered to all people in the booster programme, regardless of which vaccine brand you received the first time around. The exceptions will be where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered, for example due to allergies, in which case the AstraZeneca jab will be offered. However, you can’t decide which jab you get.
The first stage of the booster rollout has seen booster jabs offered to health and care workers at drop-in sessions at the Chester Street hub, operating over two weekends and weekday evenings. Many staff have had a seasonal flu jab at the same time, boosting their own immunity against both viruses and protecting their families, those they care for and the wider community.
From Monday it will be the turn of adults aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to have their booster jab, which will be given at their GP surgery or at the Chester Street hub. Those attending their GP surgery may also be offered a flu jab.
Participating GP practices have contacted patients by letter, email or text inviting them to make an appointment at the surgery. Patients whose GP practices are not offering boosters will receive an appointment letter from 111 to attend Chester Street, which will arrive in due course.
The Manx Care community nursing team will visit care homes for older adults to vaccinate residents, while carers and staff will have their booster at the care home or the Chester Street hub – where they will also be offered a flub jab. The community vaccine team will provide boosters at home for the housebound and offer flu vaccines at the same time.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said: ‘We are confident there will be good take-up of booster vaccines, which will increase people’s immunity during the autumn and winter months. It is not yet clear how big a third wave of COVID-19 might be, but it is inevitable we will see an increase in cases when we spend more time mixing with others indoors. There are positive signs that the immunity offered by our first two Covid jabs will continue to protect us from severe illness, but we should do everything we can to avoid needing to go into hospital, and to protect our health services at their busiest time of year. If you are offered a flu jab as well as a Covid booster on the same occasion, having both is safe and practical – but I’d encourage everyone to have either vaccine at the earliest opportunity.’
Newbies to the island who received their primary jabs elsewhere can have their booster on the island. They need to email 111 (email@example.com) with evidence of their vaccination status to register for the booster programme, and will be offered a booster with their age cohort.
Adults aged over 50 can now also book a flu vaccination through their GP Practice or at any participating pharmacy on the island.