- Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK among those providing information and reassurance to their members through their trusted networks
- Move comes as UK hits 16 million top-up jabs in total
- Data shows immunity to virus weakens after six months, as people urged to get top-ups ahead of winter
Some of the UK’s leading health charities including the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK are joining forces with the government and the NHS to encourage vulnerable people 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 they can, as well as their third primary course dose if they’re immunocompromised. The organisations 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 have also taken part in a short film that will be shared over social media.
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.
The organisations will be using their extensive networks to provide information and reassurance to vulnerable people about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, including on their social channels.
The intervention comes as the UK hits its next milestone in the vaccine rollout with just over 16 million boosters and third doses administered in total.
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.
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.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said:
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.
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.
Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said:
People living with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop COVID-19.
It is clear that the pandemic is still posing a very real threat, so it’s incredibly important that people with diabetes stay well and stay out of hospital.
Our advice is simple: if you are living with diabetes, then you should take up the offer of a COVID-19 booster vaccine when contacted. The coronavirus vaccines are safe and are saving lives.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
Unpaid carers continue to carefully manage the risk of the virus to themselves and to their older and disabled relatives which can often be hard work. From