Somerset COVID-19 Vaccination Programme pulls out all the stops to increase vaccinations in the county

The Somerset COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is ramping up its capacity to offer as many jabs as possible, following the national announcement yesterday that everyone eligible, aged 18 and over, will have the chance to get their COVID-19 booster jab before the New Year.

Dr Alex Murray, Joint Senior Responsible Officer for the programme, said: “The Somerset vaccination programme began just over a year ago and, thanks to the enormous efforts of NHS and social care colleagues, and volunteers, it has achieved an incredible amount. Now, following the scientific evidence about how quickly the new Omicron variant spreads, and the positive effects of a third “booster” vaccination, the programme is working very quickly to increase the number of vaccinations that it delivers every day.

“We are planning to do this by increasing the number of “vaccination pods” in vaccination sites in Somerset where we can, increasing the opening hours of as many sites as possible, and looking very quickly at whether we can open additional sites in Somerset.

“We are looking at the feasibility of swiftly opening additional vaccination sites including speaking to some sites such as Dillington House in Ilminster and North Petherton Rugby Club, where we previously held very successful vaccination sites. More information about this will be available in the coming days.

“We want to ensure that we are protecting the most vulnerable people in Somerset and are therefore continuing to work with GP practices in the county to visit those who are housebound, and to ensure that vulnerable patients on GP practice lists, are successfully vaccinated. You can help the programme by please not ringing your GP practice to enquire about your vaccination unless it is absolutely necessary. We will contact you.

“If you have not had your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or are eligible for a booster, please come forward and book a slot on the National Booking System. As we swiftly increase the number of slots that are available in Somerset these will be made available on the National Booking System.”

Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for Somerset County Council, said: “We are working closely with our colleagues in the NHS to support the booster programme across Somerset. The vaccination remains the best form of protection that we have in the fight against coronavirus, and scientific evidence shows the positive effects that a third ‘booster’ vaccination has on our immune system.

“Therefore, I would urge everyone to step forward for their booster when they are eligible

to do so, and to remain patient with our NHS who are working very hard to increase the number of vaccinations they deliver every day.”