The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, and Cancer Research UK are among the leading health organizations in the UK working with the government and the NHS to encourage vulnerable people to receive their COVID-19 immunizations.
The coalition is made up of 16 organizations that will try to encourage their members to get their first, second, and booster doses as soon as possible, as well as their third primary course dose if they are immunocompromised. The groups will encourage people to receive their flu immunizations as soon as possible this winter to keep them as safe as possible. In addition, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Carers UK, and Epilepsy Action have all contributed to a short film that will be distributed via social media.
As the weather turns colder and people spend more time indoors with family and friends, it’s critical that those who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and flu get the vaccinations they require.
People aged 40 and up, health and social care workers, and those aged 16 and up with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk of serious COVID-19 sickness are now eligible for booster vaccinations if their second dose has been six months ago.
The groups will use their extensive networks, including social media, to convey information and reassurance to vulnerable people about the vaccinations’ safety and effectiveness.
The intervention comes as the United Kingdom approaches the next stage of the vaccination deployment, with just over 16 million boosters and third doses provided in total.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:
I am hugely grateful to all the charities who are backing our vaccine campaign and supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society.
With winter approaching it’s so important that those who are at risk from the virus are protected in order to keep themselves safe.
The vaccines are safe and effective and are helping us build a wall of defense against COVID-19. Please come forward for yours as soon as you can.”
The following organizations are part of the coalition:
- African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust;
- Anthony Nolan;
- British Heart Foundation;
- British Liver Trust;
- Cancer Research UK;
- Carers UK;
- Diabetes UK;
- Epilepsy Action;
- Epilepsy Society;
- Kidney Care UK;
- Kidney Research UK;
- Parkinson’s UK;
- Rethink Mental Illness;
- Sickle Cell Society; and
- Terrence Higgins Trust.
In the United Kingdom, a total of 16,004,629 million people have now got their booster shots and third doses, ensuring vital protection ahead of the winter season.
Over 50.8 million initial doses (88.4%) and 46.2 million second doses (80.4%) have been administered across the United Kingdom.
Maggie Throup, the Minister of Vaccines, said:
This partnership with health charities is vital to allow us to reach the groups most in need of a COVID-19 vaccine to keep them safe from the virus.
The fight against COVID-19 through the vaccines is a national mission and it’s brilliant to see so many different organizations step up to help get this message to those most at-risk.
If you’re yet to get your first, second or booster dose, please do come forward for the jab as soon as possible.”
The National Booking Service launched this week for people aged 40-49 who need a booster shot, as well as young people aged 16-17 who aren’t clinically at danger.
This indicates that people who received their booster vaccine by the 11th of December will have high COVID-19 protection by Christmas Day. Following an increase in cases and the reintroduction of lockdown restrictions in Europe, persons eligible for a booster have been advised to take advantage of the opportunity as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and their families while also helping to relieve burden on the NHS.
People over the age of 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, such as those with leukemia, advanced HIV, or organ transplants, are also eligible for third doses. These people may not mount a complete immune response to vaccination and thus be less protected than the general population.
Diabetes UK’s Policy Manager, Nikki Joule, said:
People living with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop COVID-19.
It is clear that the pandemic is still posing a very real threat, so it’s incredibly important that people with diabetes stay well and stay out of hospital.
Our advice is simple: if you are living with diabetes, then you should take up the offer of a COVID-19 booster vaccine when contacted. The coronavirus vaccines are safe and are saving lives.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
Unpaid carers continue to carefully manage the risk of the virus to themselves and to their older and disabled relatives which can often be hard work. From our contact with carers, we know that getting the vaccine has not only increased their immunity, it has also brought a sense of relief and decreased stress.
As we head towards Christmas, we know that this can be a busy time, particularly if you’re providing unpaid care to an ill or disabled relative or friend. We encourage any unpaid carers who haven’t yet had their boosters to come forward and get one as soon as they can, to further protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Daniel Jennings, senior policy & campaigns officer, at Epilepsy Action said:
COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on all our lives and it’s important we continue to protect ourselves – and others – from coronavirus. We are joining forces with other charities to urge people in priority group 6, including those with epilepsy, to get the COVID booster vaccine this winter.
Studies have shown that people with epilepsy could have a slightly increased risk of being admitted to hospital or dying from coronavirus. A key part of beating the virus and keeping people safe is through vaccinations.
This is why it’s so important that people with epilepsy who have already been vaccinated get the booster to help give them the best possible protection throughout the winter and beyond.
It’s important to remember that the vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK have met the strict safety standards set by the medicines regulator. They have also been deemed safe for people with neurological conditions including epilepsy by the Association of British Neurologists.”
Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK, said:
Vaccines have allowed us all to come so far in such a short time, and going into the winter months it is vital that everyone has as much protection as possible from COVID-19 and flu as they can put you at a much higher risk of complications.
We are part of this coalition because it is so important that the thousands of kidney patients we support know how they can access these life-saving vaccines. We encourage people with kidney disease, who are on dialysis and those who have had a kidney transplant to take up the offer of their booster or third primary doses as well as their flu vaccine.
Ultimately we all want to be able to spend time with our loved ones this Christmas, and the best way for us to do this is to all play our part and look out for ourselves and for each other.”
Director of Communications and Policy of the British Liver Trust Vanessa Hebditch said:
Liver disease patients are among the highest risk groups when it comes to COVID-19 and the vaccine is the best form of protection for them against the virus.
We welcome the rollout of the winter vaccine programme to prolong the protection and reduce the risk of serious disease among the most vulnerable during these cold months.
If you’re invited for a booster or third COVID-19 vaccine, please don’t delay. It’s the quickest and easiest way to keep you and your loved ones healthy this winter.”
Vaccines provide high levels of protection, but immunity fades with time, especially in older folks and at-risk groups, so it’s critical that vulnerable people get their COVID-19 booster vaccine this winter to bolster their defenses and protect themselves.
According to the latest evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), protection against symptomatic disease for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine drops from 65 percent up to three months after the second dose, to 45 percent six months later, and from 90 percent to 65 percent for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Oxford/hospitalization AstraZeneca’s protection drops from 95% to 75%, while Pfizer/protection BioNTech’s drops from 95% to 90%.
Despite the fact that vaccine effectiveness against serious disease remains high, a modest change in hospital admissions can have a big impact. A reduction in hospitalization protection from 95% to 90%, for example, would result in a doubling of admissions among individuals who have been vaccinated.
The first and second COVID-19 vaccines are still available to anyone who qualifies. Vaccines are offered for free at tens of thousands of immunization centers, GP clinics, and pharmacies around the country. In England, approximately 98 percent of people reside within 10 miles of a vaccine center, with vaccinations taking place at mosques, community centers, and football stadiums.
Vaccines are also offered for individuals aged 12 to 15 in schools and over 200 vaccine centers to provide the best possible protection this winter.