The Lord Mayor of Leeds is urging all eligible residents to go for their free COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as they’re contacted by the NHS.
Councillor Asghar Khan received his booster at the Leeds COVID vaccination centre at Elland Road on the anniversary of the very first COVID vaccination in the world (8 December).
Vaccines are the best way to protect people against COVID-19 and, in light of the new Omicron variant and following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the government is expanding the booster programme to all adults over 18, with all those eligible being offered a top-up jab by the end of January, as well as halving the gap between doses to protect more people more quickly.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Asghar Khan, said: “I meet with lots of people every day so it’s really important to me and my loved ones that I’m fully vaccinated. Having the booster means I reduce my chances of catching and spreading COVID, but if I do catch it, it means I’m far less likely to become seriously ill.
“At this time of year, with so many people coming together to celebrate the festive season, getting your vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family, so please have your vaccine when you’re eligible.”
Sam Prince, Senior Responsible Officer for the Leeds Vaccination Programme, said: “The Leeds vaccination team – NHS staff, GPs, pharmacists, council colleagues and volunteers – is working tirelessly to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
“The emergence of the new variant is obviously a concern for us all. As we enter the most complex and challenging phase of the vaccination programme, our message is clear: if you are currently eligible for the booster or you have not yet had your first or second dose please do come forward for your jab. It will give you and your loved ones vital protection as we enter the holiday season, especially with the new variant spreading so quickly.
“If you haven’t had any of your vaccinations yet, it’s not too late. There are centres across the city offering appointments or walk in clinics. The vaccinations are free, regardless of immigration status, and you don’t need to be registered with a GP.”
From next Monday (13 December), boosters will be offered to everyone over the age of 18, and the gap between the second dose and booster will be reduced to 3 months. As before, people will be prioritised according to their age and risk, and the NHS will contact them when it’s their turn for the booster.
Anyone aged 40 or over or in an at-risk group who had their second dose 6 months ago, can book their booster now at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119. Otherwise, please wait to be contacted.
The flu vaccination programme is also now running which protects people from serious complications from getting flu, so we would encourage people who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster to also get their flu vaccination. More information on the flu vaccination is at www.nhs.uk/flujab
To book a vaccination
You can book your vaccination online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine or by calling 119. Or if you prefer, visit www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/health/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/walk-in-clinics/ to find out which services will be offering walk-in appointments.