Some of the UK’s leading health organizations, including the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK, are partnering with the government and the NHS to encourage people at risk to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

The coalition brings together 16 charities who will work to encourage their members to get their first, second, and booster doses as soon as possible, as well as their third base dose when they are immunocompromised. Organizations will encourage people to get their flu vaccines to keep them as safe as possible this winter. Terrence Higgins Trust, Carers UK and Epilepsy Action also participated in a short film that will be shared on social media.

As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors meeting with family and friends, it is important that those who are prone to developing serious illnesses from COVID-19 and flu take care of the vaccinations they are given to need.

People aged 40 and over, health and social workers, or people aged 16 and over with an underlying condition that poses an increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease are now entitled to booster vaccinations if six months have passed since their second dose.

The organizations will use their extensive networks to inform and reassure vulnerable people about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, including on their social channels.

The intervention comes when the UK hits its next vaccine launch milestone with just over 16 million booster vaccinations and a total of third doses administered.

Sajid Javid, Minister of Health and Social Affairs said:

I am very grateful to all the charities who support our vaccination campaign and support some of the most vulnerable in our society.

As winter approaches, it is so important that those at risk from the virus are sheltered to protect themselves.

The vaccines are safe and effective and are helping us build a wall of defense against COVID-19. Please sign up for yours as soon as possible. “

Some of the charities participating in the coalition include:

  • African Caribbean Leukemia Trust;
  • Anthony Nolan;
  • British Heart Foundation;
  • British liver trust;
  • Cancer Research UK;
  • Supervisor Great Britain;
  • Diabetes UK;
  • Epilepsy action;
  • Epilepsy society;
  • Kidney care UK;
  • Kidney research UK;
  • Macmillan;
  • Parkinson’s Great Britain;
  • Reconsider Mental Illness;
  • Sickle cell society; and
  • Terrence Higgins Trust.

A total of 16,004,629 million people in the UK have already received their booster vaccines and the third dose, ensuring crucial winter protection.

In the UK, more than 50.8 million first doses (88.4%) and 46.2 million second doses (80.4%) were given.

Vaccination Minister Maggie Throup said:

This partnership with charities is vital so that we can reach the groups most in need of a COVID-19 vaccine to protect them from the virus.

The fight against COVID-19 through the vaccines is a national mission and it is great to see how so many different organizations are committed to getting this message across to the most vulnerable.

If you have not yet received your first, second or booster dose, please get in touch for vaccination as soon as possible. “

This week the National Booking Service opened for people aged 40 to 49 for their booster vaccination, as well as for young people aged 16 to 17 who have no clinical risk for their second vaccination.

This means that people who received their booster vaccinations by December 11th will have a very high level of protection against COVID-19 until Christmas Day. After a surge in cases and a return of lockdown restrictions in Europe, those eligible for a refresher have been urged to take the offer as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and their families and to ease pressure on the NHS.

Third doses are also offered to people over 12 years of age who were severely immunocompromised at the time of their first or second dose, including those with leukemia, advanced HIV, and organ transplants. These people may not respond fully to vaccination and therefore may be less protected than the wider population.

Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK said:

People with diabetes are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.

It is clear that the pandemic is still a very real threat, so it is incredibly important that people with diabetes stay healthy and cannot leave the hospital.

Our advice is simple: if you live with diabetes, please take advantage of the COVID-19 booster vaccination offer upon contact. The coronavirus vaccines are safe and save lives. “

Helen Walker, Managing Director of Carers UK said:

Unpaid caregivers continue to carefully handle the risk of the virus to themselves and their elderly and disabled loved ones, which can often be hard work. We know from our contacts with the caregivers that the vaccination not only increased their immunity but also brought a feeling of relief and stress relief.

Before Christmas, we know this can be a busy time, especially if you are unpaid caring for a sick or disabled relative or friend. We encourage all unpaid caregivers who have not yet received their booster assistance to get one as soon as possible to further protect themselves and their loved ones. “

Daniel Jennings, Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer at Epilepsy Action said:

COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on all of our lives and it is important that we continue to protect ourselves – and others – from the coronavirus. We’re teaming up with other charities to urge people in Priority Group 6, including those with epilepsy, to get the COVID booster vaccine this winter.

Studies have shown that people with epilepsy may have a slightly increased risk of being hospitalized or dying from the coronavirus. An important part of fighting the virus and keeping people safe is vaccination.

This is why it is so important that people with epilepsy who are already vaccinated receive the booster to give them the best possible protection through the winter and beyond.

It is important to remember that vaccines approved for use in the UK meet the strict safety standards set by the Medicines Agency. They have also been classified as safe for people with neurological conditions, including epilepsy, by the Association of British Neurologists. “

Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK, said:

Vaccines have allowed us all to get this far in such a short amount of time, and during the winter months it is important that everyone is protected from COVID-19 and flu as much as possible as they can put you at a much higher risk of complications .

We’re part of this coalition because it’s so important that the thousands of kidney patients we support know how to access these life-saving vaccines. We encourage people with kidney disease, dialysis patients, and those who have had a kidney transplant to take advantage of their booster or third baseline dose, as well as their flu vaccine.

Ultimately, we all want to be able to spend quality time with our loved ones this Christmas, and the best way to do that is by all of us doing our part and taking care of ourselves and each other. “

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Communications and Policy for the British Liver Trust said:

Patients with liver disease are among the groups at highest risk for COVID-19 and the vaccine is their best protection from the virus.

We welcome the introduction of the winter vaccination program to extend protection and reduce the risk of serious illness in the most vulnerable during these cold months.

If you are invited to a booster or third COVID-19 vaccination, please do not hesitate. It’s the quickest, easiest way to keep you and your loved ones healthy this winter. “

Vaccines offer high levels of protection, but immunity decreases over time, especially in older adults and at risk groups.

The latest findings from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) show that symptomatic disease protection for the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine drops from 65% up to three months after the second dose to 45% six months after the second dose, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Hospitalization protection drops from 95% to 75% for Oxford / AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer / BioNTech.

Although the vaccine’s effectiveness against serious illness is still high, a small change can cause a large postponement of hospital admissions. For example, a change from 95% to 90% protection against hospital admissions would double admissions for vaccinated persons.

The offer of a first and second COVID-19 vaccine is open to anyone who is eligible. Vaccines are free and are available at thousands of vaccination centers, general practitioners’ offices, and pharmacies. In England, around 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination center, and vaccination takes place in places such as mosques, community centers and football stadiums.

There are also vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds to offer the best possible protection in schools and in more than 200 vaccination centers this winter.

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