Alongside Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK & The British Heart Foundation we're helping provide advice and information on vaccines to those who need the most protection this winter. Together we are joining forces with the government and the NHS to encourage people who are vulnerable to Covid-19 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 - and 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. Household members of people who are immunocompromised are also eligible for a booster.
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.”
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup added: “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 organisations 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.”
A total of 16,004,629 million people in the UK have already received their booster vaccines and third doses, securing crucial protection ahead of the winter. More than 50.8 million first doses (88.4%) and 46.2 million second doses (80.4%) have been given across the UK. This week, the National Booking Service opened to people aged 40-49 for their booster jab, as well as young people aged 16-17 who aren’t clinically at risk for their second jab. This means people who have had their booster vaccine by 11 December will have very high protection against Covid-19 by Christmas Day. Following a rise in cases and a return of lockdown restrictions in Europe, those eligible for a booster have been urged to take up the offer as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families and help to reduce the pressure on the NHS.
Third doses are also being offered to people over 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV and organ transplants. These people may not mount a full response to vaccination and therefore may be less protected than the wider population. We know that the rollout of the third primary dose of the Covid-19 has not been well-organised and continue our work with NHS England to address this. Nevertheless, the reason why we have been so engaged with this is because we would like to see all those at risk getting their vaccines as soon as possible.
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 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.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid 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 defence against COVID-19. Please come forward for yours as soon as you can.”
The charities taking part in the coalition include:
- 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.
Remember to check our website regularly for the latest Covid-19 advice and guidance.
This handy guide we put together with the Kidney Charities Together Group explains more about Covid-19 vaccines.