Omicron Scotland: NHS Forth Valley step up booster programme
The emergence of the Omicron variant in Scotland has led to a more urgent approach to the national COVID-19 vaccination programme and, in particular, booster vaccinations for older adults.
It has been recommended COVID-19 boosters can now be given to all adults no less than three months – instead of six months – after they have received their second dose.
An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “People aged 40-49 years old in NHS Forth Valley are being urged to use the NHS Inform online portal or the national vaccination helpline to book their Covid-19 booster appointments.
“Appointments are available during December 2021 and should continue to be booked at least 24 weeks after the second dose until the arrangements to introduce the new JCVI guidance have been put in place. This will see boosters being offered to people aged 18 to 39 and reduce the interval between doses to three months.
"And 16 and 17-year-olds can also now use the national booking portal on NHS Inform to book an appointment for their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as long as least 12 weeks have passed since they received their first dose.
"However, anyone in this age group who has tested positive for COVID-19 since having their first dose should wait for 12 weeks after their positive test result before
getting their second dose.”
The national booking portal is already open for the 50 – 59 age group, unpaid carers who are 16 and over, and those aged 16 and over who are household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Anyone in these groups who has not yet received their COVID-19 booster vaccine is being encouraged to the national vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013 to book an appointment as soon as possible.
Where possible, people will also be offered their flu vaccine at the same time as their COVID-19 booster to avoid the need for two separate appointments. People are also asked to avoid turning up early for their COVID-19 vaccination appointment to help maintain physical distancing, avoid queues from developing and ensure local vaccination clinics run as effectively and smoothly as possible.
Fiona Coan, NHS Forth Valley’s immunisation team manager, said “The expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine booster to those aged 40-49 marks another significant milestone in the roll out of the booster vaccination programme.
“Boosters are just as important as the initial vaccinations as immunity levels wane over time with increasing risk of further infection. The booster dose improves your level of protection significantly and is the best way to protect your health and those around you.
"I therefore would urge everyone aged over 40 to arrange their booster appointment via the national booking portal or vaccination
helpline as soon as possible.
“I also want to encourage 16 and 17-year-olds across Forth Valley to use the national booking portal to book an appointment for their second dose forward to help protect themselves, their families and friends and their local communities.
"We have been really pleased with the uptake of first doses in this age group, with 76 percent of all 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland now vaccinated.”
Visit the NHS Inform website for more information.