The Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr Jane Halpin is encouraging local residents to come forward for their first jab and remember to get their second dose, which she called “vital and lifesaving”.
The plea comes as people aged 40 and over are now able to book in their second vaccination on the national booking system - or by ringing 119 from eight weeks after their first dose.
With everyone over the age of 18 now able to book in for the vaccine, eligible people are being urged to get their first or second jab as soon as possible.
Research this week showed how important the second jab is at protecting people against the Delta/Indian variant.
Studies have found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be 96 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses, while the Oxford-AstraZeneca is 92 per cent effective.
The last push comes as the NHS in England passed the milestone of having delivered 60 million doses across England in just six months.
Across Hertfordshire and west Essex, over 1.6 million doses of the vaccine have been given so far. Almost 74 per cent of eligible adults have had their first dose and over 680,000 people have had their second – meaning 54 per cent of the eligible adult population is fully vaccinated.
It’s vital that the remaining people complete their course to ensure they get full protection as soon as possible.
Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Thanks to the incredible work of NHS staff up and down the country, around three quarters of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with over half having received both.
“I am thrilled that in Hertfordshire and west Essex so many people have had their vaccination and are helping the country as a whole beat this devastating virus.
“If you’ve been offered the vaccine before but haven’t yet taken it up, don’t worry. The offer of the vaccine will not expire - so if you have been invited but haven’t made an appointment yet, please do so today and bring us one step closer to freedom.”
Bookings for first and second doses can be made via the National Booking Service, while people who cannot get online can call the service on 119 for extra support in doing so.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to making a booking.
People in Hertfordshire and west Essex who are eligible for the jab can also go to one of the local walk-in sessions being offered at some vaccination centres, without the need for an appointment.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is available at walk-in sessions at Hemel Hempstead Hospital on the following days:
> Friday, June 18 - 8.30am till 3.30pm
> Saturday, June 19 - 8.30am till 3.30pm
> Sunday, June 20 - 8.30am till 3.30pm.
Walk-in sessions are on a first come, first served basis.
People should check the website before travelling, be prepared to queue in all weathers and bring a drink of water – it’s also advisable to have a snack and a drink before setting off to the vaccination centre.