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England Launches Latest Round Of Covid-19 Booster Vaccines

by Tunae

England has launched its latest Covid-19 booster campaign for those at the highest risk from the disease.

From Monday, people over the age of 75, those who live in adult care homes and others with certain underlying health conditions will be able to book a free shot to boost their protection against Covid-19.

Although the virus rarely still hits the headlines, it still spreads widely through populations and cause serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Mary Ramsay, who directs immunisations at the UK Health Security Agency, said it was important for those at highest risk to “get their jab to help top up their immunity” against a virus that’s still circulating.

“We are still seeing Covid-19 causing hospitalisations and severe illness particularly among older people and those with weakened immune systems and the vaccine provides the best protection – so don’t put it off.”

For the first time, private vaccines will also be available alongside the public campaign.

Anyone over the age of 12 with the means to pay for a shot can now get inoculated privately.

Private shots, which went on sale in the U.K. earlier this year, are available at a cost of between £45 to £99 ($56 to $124), depending on the brand and the seller.

Major high street pharmacy chain Boots offers the vaccines, alongside some community pharmacies and private clinics. Shots from Pfizer and Novavax are currently on offer for private customers.

Pharmadoctor, a company that helps community pharmacies deliver shots, told the BBC it has delivered more than 1,500 Pfizer doses, around 87% of which were for people who dont meet requirements for free shots.

Who is eligible for a booster shot?

Public health shots are available to anyone who will be 75 or older on or before June 30th of this year, as well as residents of older adult care homes and people with weakened immune systems.

The public health system will contact eligible individuals, who can also book a slot online.

Shots will be delivered by family doctors, at pharmacies and walk-in centres.

Vaccine teams will visit care homes to deliver shots to residents who want them.

The vaccines massively reduce the chance of major complications, hospitalization and death from Covid-19.

The risks are higher for older people and those with certain health conditions, so the U.K. government offers some vulnerable groups free vaccines to maintain protection against the disease.

The campaign will run until June 30th.

Steve Russell, the national director for vaccinations and screening at England’s public health system, the National Health Service, said Covid-19 “can still be very dangerous, particularly for older people and those with a weakened immune system.”

Over time, immunity gained from prior vaccination or infection can wane, “so it is vital that those who are at higher risk top up their protection,” he added.

“If you are aged 75 or over or if you or your child have a weakened immune system, then it is vital that you get your vaccine as soon as possible.”

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