Immunosuppressed people urged to come forward for third primary dose
People in Shropshire who are immunosuppressed are being strongly encouraged to come forward for their third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Being immunosuppressed means having a weakened immune system and this can be due either to certain diseases or conditions, such as some cancers, AIDS, and certain genetic disorders, or as a result of receiving certain medicines or treatments like anti-cancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant.
Zena Young, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging those that are immunosuppressed to come forward.
If someone is immunosuppressed it means they have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. In the case of COVID-19, it means you may not mount a full immune response to a primary Covid vaccination, and this is why we are asking immunosuppressed people to come back for a third primary vaccination, at least eight weeks after the second primary dose. This third dose will give them the maximum possible protection.
The third dose is not the same as a booster vaccination. It’s called a third primary dose because it is part of your primary course of vaccination, which means it’s in the same group as your first and second doses. The third primary dose is only being offered to people who are immunosuppressed, or who were immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second vaccination.
Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Covid-19 Vaccination Service wants to make it easier and clearer for people to understand the differences between the COVID-19 booster vaccination and the COVID-19 third primary dose.
- Those eligible for a COVID-19 booster have to wait at least six months, or 182 days after their second dose was given.
- Those eligible for a third primary dose simply get this quicker, not having to wait six months or 182 days, but can receive the third primary dose eight weeks after their second dose.
Individuals who are severely immunosuppressed are eligible to get an additional third dose of vaccine as part of their primary course of immunisation. This offer is separate to the booster programme – if you are eligible for a third primary dose, you will still be eligible for a booster six months after your third primary dose.
Letters are being sent from specialist teams at the hospitals and/or General Practice to invite those eligible to receive their vaccine. People who are eligible can then book or walk into a vaccination site with their eligibility letter to receive this third dose.
- People receiving a letter, email or texts from specialist teams at the hospitals will be asked to book into the vaccination centre (at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital) or a hospital hub (at either the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital). A link to book an appointment should be provided in the letter.
- People receiving a letter, email or texts from their GP, will be given local booking information along with the links for secondary care clinics to book an appointment.
- Alternatively, patients can visit a walk-in clinic but must take their letter, email or text as proof of eligibility.
If you are immunosuppressed and have been invited to receive your third vaccine you cannot book your third vaccine by calling 119 or the National Booking Service website. Instead, you will need to attend a clinic at the hospital, GP Practice or a walk-in session.
Patient Nicola Young, 58, from Shrewsbury, recently had her third primary dose at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Vaccination Centre.
To look at me you’d assume I was fit and well but I’m undergoing treatment for breast cancer and myeloma, so my immune system is incredibly weak.
I want to still be able to do the things I enjoy, which is why I’ve had my third primary dose. I feel relieved to have had it – having a weakened immune system means that I require a third primary dose to ensure that I receive the same protection given by two doses for those with normal immune systems.
It is important to note that if you have had a COVID-19 booster vaccine recently, you will not need a third primary dose at this time.
For more local information on how to get a third dose, visit: Third dose information (stwics.org.uk)
For more information from the NHS, visit: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine 3rd dose – NHS (www.nhs.uk)