As of today, NHS England has made it possible for people who are immunosuppressed to book in for their third primary dose of the Covid-19 vaccine online. Please note that if you are eligible but have not yet had your third dose then you will need a referral letter from a GP or specialist in order to do this.
Over the three months since the JCVI announced a third dose, we have consistently heard from kidney patients who are eligible for their third dose but who have not been able to get a letter or, more importantly, their vaccination, due to confusion within the NHS as to who is responsible for providing it. Whilst we acknowledge that the NHS has attempted to contact those eligible for a third dose, we know from the patients we support that this did not reach everyone and for those who were contacted, many faced confusion between their GP and their kidney doctor; with many being passed from pillar to post, having to make numerous phone calls, before finally getting access to their vaccine, weeks later than they should have.
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, comments: “The announcement today that immunocompromised people can book their vaccines online is a small step forward. However, the fact that almost three months after JCVI guidance was issued, there are still over 100,000 people who are eligible for their third dose who have not yet had it, is not good enough.
"We’d like to see that lessons have been learned from this rollout so that further Covid-19 vaccines which are likely to be offered to this group are prioritised with the necessary communications and infrastructure in place to ensure they can be accessed by those most at risk as soon as possible. Many people who are immunocompromised have been very upset by the difficult experience they have had in trying to get their third dose; they need reassurance it won’t happen again in future.”
We are calling on the government and the NHS to accompany this activity today with clear, targeted information to patients and clinicians who are most at risk and who are yet to receive their third dose so that they can make the most of this opportunity. This is particularly important for those who are not IT literate or for whom English is not their first language. We know it has been a stressful and challenging time. Despite these difficulties we do encourage everyone eligible to take this opportunity to get their third dose as soon as they can to ensure they have the best protection possible.
Please let us know whether this online system is working for you by emailing us at [email protected]. We are finding out whether you will be able to book in the same way in the other three UK nations and will update as soon as we know more.
Please continue to check our website for the latest Covid-19 advice.
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