VULNERABLE older Brits are being told to contact the NHS if they have not had their Covid vaccine.
You are eligible to ask the NHS for a jab appointment if you are in one of the top four priority groups, including if you are over the age of 70.
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The Prime Minister set a target for all the people in the top four priority groups to be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by February 15.
But the health service in England has changed its messaging from “we will contact you” to “contact us” for those over 70.
You can book a vaccine appointment by calling the helpline on 119.
You can also book using the website www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. It will ask you for details such as your name, birth date and postcode.
The website used to say “please do not try to book a vaccination if you have not received a letter” – however, this has been changed.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, you can also call your GP practice.
Anyone over the age of 70
Two of the four top priority groups for a Covid vaccines are those over the age of 80, and over the age of 70.
If you have not yet been told to come in for your first vaccine dose, and are over the age of 70 years old, you need to contact the NHS.
Because of your age, the JCVI considers you the most at risk of getting severe disease if you catch the coronavirus, and therefore you must get your vaccine before the younger age groups.
This includes care home residents, who are at very high risk of Covid due to the nature of their living arrangement and outbreaks.
Healthcare workers on the frontline, including those in social care such as care homes, should get their vaccine dose as soon as possible.
If you’re a frontline worker in the NHS, you are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 at work, and therefore are at the front of the queue to be jabbed.
Getting the vaccine protects yourself as well as the people around you, including patients and colleagues.
This priority group includes those working in hospice care and those working temporarily in the Covid vaccination programme who provide face-to-face clinical care.
Extremely clinically vulnerable
If you have been deemed “extremely clinically vulnerable”, you are also a priority for a Covid vaccine.
This is regardless of age, meaning young adults with a serious health condition should also have been jabbed.
GP teams have been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients.
The Government says even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you should continue to follow this shielding advice until further notice.
The people you live with should continue to follow the public health rules and guidance as long as they are in place, including if both of you have had the jab.
You should contact the NHS about getting a Covid vaccine if:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
- have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed
- are an adult with Down’s syndrome
- are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
- have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of your needs
Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and a practising GP, said: “If you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can.
“The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “Thanks to the huge efforts of the NHS, volunteers and local authorities we have vaccinated an incredible 12 million vulnerable people so far – including around nine in 10 of all over-70s.
“We are on track to meet our goal of offering everyone in the top four priority groups a jab.
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“So far we have said please wait until the NHS contacts you.
“I now urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to book in their jab.
“And if you have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus.
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together.”