The NHS in Gloucestershire continues to reassure residents that they will be able to access a booster vaccination before the end of the year if eligible.

Local NHS services will be in touch very soon with an invitation to book an appointment if they haven’t already, with around 300,000 booster doses already given.

In response to the threat of the new Omicron variant, vaccination teams have been asked to accelerate plans to provide boosters to all adults over the age of 18 from three months after their second dose.

Health and care partners across the county have been working together to look at the options to deliver this ambitious target, and our innovative GP led Primary Care Network community vaccination model (centres and services) and community pharmacy offer across the county means we have a strong infrastructure to work from.

We have well-established and effective staffing arrangements which we will supplement where needed, and we are confident that our incredible vaccination teams can once again rise to the challenge to ensure everyone who wants one is able to access a booster by the end of the year. People do not need to travel outside of the county for their COVID-19 vaccinations if they do not wish to.

We will be accelerating the speed and scale of the booster programme to all those 18 and over and those at greatest risk will continue to be prioritised. We are working with our partners at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust to ensure those who are housebound receive their vaccination as soon as possible.

There are three ways to access a booster vaccination in Gloucestershire:

  1. Via appointment at a GP-led primary care network (PCN) vaccination centre

The bulk of vaccinations continue to be provided by appointment through the 11 PCN community vaccination centres across the county. Please note that these appointments are not available on the national booking system (NBS), people will receive an invite directly from local NHS services to book (often via text if your GP practice has a contact number).

These sites are increasing their capacity through extended opening hours and in some cases opening up to 7 days a week. Additionally, people may be invited to book their appointment at a number of ‘pop-up’ sites across the county.

  1. Via the national booking system (NBS)

Some people may choose to book an appointment at one of 8 community pharmacies across the county using the NBS telephone number and website (www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or call 119).

The JabVan at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which had been a hospital vaccination hub for health and social care workers, has also this week opened to the public on the National Booking System to support the COVID booster campaign.

  1. At a drop-in clinic

Drop-in clinics will continue at some community vaccination sites through December. Dates (including any new ones) and any changes to eligibility for future drop-in sessions will be available on the local NHS COVID portal. People can also keep up to date through CCG (@GlosCCG) and GP Practice social media channels.

To ensure that these drop-in clinics operate at a safe capacity, we will be opening up availability to specific age groups – as we did during the first vaccination rollout. If your age group is not eligible for that particular drop-in session, please do not turn up – you will still be able to book an appointment at your nearest vaccination centre when you receive an invite.

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair, NHS Gloucestershire CCG, said:

“Our vaccination teams are pulling out all the stops as we step up even further to expand the vaccination programme for everyone who’s eligible.

As has been the case since the vaccine programme began this time last year, we have been overwhelmed by the commitment and willingness of our colleagues across the health and care family to step up to the challenge and ensure everyone who wants one is able to access a booster over the next few weeks.

As we look to free up maximum capacity to deliver vaccinations, there may be some impact on non-urgent services and GP practices may not be able to offer the same level of routine or non-clinical support as usual. Please continue to be kind, patient and understanding to our colleagues who are going all out to support this monumental effort.”

With around one in ten of all booked appointments currently ‘no shows’, the NHS is also asking anyone who no longer needs their appointment, either because the time is no longer convenient or they have got their vaccine elsewhere, to please cancel the booking so the time can be freed up for others.

Everything people need to know about the vaccination programme in Gloucestershire is available on the local NHS COVID portal, including locations of vaccination sites, information leaflets, drop-in dates and FAQs.