The British Liver Trust are proud to support a campaign to promote the importance of the COVID-19 booster and third vaccine to boost uptake among those with long term health conditions and their carers.
The coalition brings together 16 charities who will work to encourage their members to get their first, second and booster doses as soon as they can, as well as their third primary course dose if they’re immunocompromised. The organisations will encourage people to get their flu vaccines, to keep them as safe as possible this winter.
As the weather turns colder and people are spending more time indoors mixing with family and friends, it's crucial that those who are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 and flu come forward for the jabs they need.
People aged 40 and over, health and social care workers or those aged 16 and over with an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of severe COVID-19 illness are now eligible for booster vaccinations, provided it’s been six months since their second dose.
The organisations will be using their extensive networks to provide information and reassurance to vulnerable people about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, including on their social channels.
The intervention comes as the UK hits its next milestone in the vaccine rollout with just over 16 million boosters and third doses administered in total.
Director of Communications and Policy at 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 give high levels of protection but immunity reduces over time, particularly for older adults and at-risk groups, so it is vital that vulnerable people come forward to get their COVID-19 booster vaccine to top up their defences and protect themselves this winter.
The latest evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that protection against symptomatic disease falls from 65%, up to three months after the second dose, to 45% six months after the second dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Protection against hospitalisation falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech.
Although the vaccine effectiveness against severe disease remains high, a small change can generate a major shift in hospital admissions. For example, a change from 95% to 90% protection against hospitalisation would lead to doubling of admissions in those vaccinated.
The offer of a first and second COVID-19 vaccine remains open to anyone who is eligible. Vaccines are available free of charge and from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.
Vaccines are also available for those aged 12 to 15 to offer the best possible protection this winter in schools, as well as more than 200 vaccine centres.