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Dr Hilary Jones & AGE UK urge all eligible older people to protect their health by having a spring COVID-19 booster as soon as it is offered

Published on 24 April 2023 02:25 PM

Dr Hilary Jones, General Practitioner and TV Presenter on GMB and Lorraine, has joined Age UK to urge older people to do all they can to stay well in 2023 by making sure they have a spring COVID-19 booster vaccination, when it becomes available to them.

If you are aged 75 and over, a resident of a care home or are immunosuppressed you are eligible for a COVID-19 spring booster. Immunity from vaccinations does wane over time, particularly for older and immunosuppressed people, so it’s important that those who are eligible protect themselves as soon as they can when the NHS contacts them. You will be contacted by the NHS and offered slots between April and June. It should be 6 months after your last dose, but it can be earlier. You can book online or by calling 119 from 5 April.

Sadly, in England, in the week ending 19 March 2023, the last recorded figures show that COVID-19 infection rates in the 70-plus age group have risen steadily for a sixth consecutive week, so we mustn’t be complacent about the risk of catching the virus.[i]

In addition, hospital admission rates for patients with confirmed COVID-19 in England were highest for those aged 75 years and over and 85 years and over, as they have been throughout the pandemic - with the 85 years and over age group rising for a fourth consecutive week.

In the same week, admission rates to Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units were highest for those aged 75-84 years age group[ii] making it imperative that older people do everything they can to protect themselves by having the spring booster whenever it is offered.

Vaccinations provide protection against the severe effects of the virus. Plus, data shows that protection against the virus improves with the increase of doses[iii], so getting a spring booster could significantly increase protection.

Dr Hilary Jones said: “The spring COVID-19 booster is being offered to those considered most at risk, so over 75s, those with a weakened immune system and care home residents. Even though it may feel like coronavirus has gone away to a certain degree I would still encourage those older people who are eligible to get the booster, as soon as they can. It is still important as these vaccinations need topping up to be most effective.   

“We know that catching the flu and COVID-19 viruses at the same time can be really dangerous for vulnerable people, but the simple fact is that being vaccinated helps prevent hospitalisation and serious illnesses, which is why I am supporting Age UK in their call for all older people to have both vaccinations when they are called, messaged or written to by the NHS.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Understandably, some older people may have grown tired of the stream of vaccinations we have been advised to have in the battle against COVID-19 over the last few years. But the figures show we aren’t ‘out of the woods’. My advice to older people is please do take up the offer of the spring COVID-19 booster when it comes your way. Whenever you are called for vaccination please do accept.

“Vaccinations are the best defence we have against COVID-19 so we cannot overstate how important it is that everyone who is eligible receives them. With all the worries about energy prices and the cost of food rising it’s more important this year than ever to stay as fit and well as possible, and getting these vaccinations will help.”

The spring COVID-19 booster is a more targeted vaccination and will only be offered to:

- adults aged 75 years and over
- residents in a care home for older adults, and
- individuals who are immunosuppressed.



The NHS will contact you by text message or letter when it is your turn to get a Spring booster and will generally be inviting the oldest first from April – it’s important to book in as quickly as possible when invited. You can book without an invite and the booking system will open on 5 April online or over the phone. Vaccinations for people in care homes will begin earlier from 3 April.

This is also the last opportunity for everyone to get your first and second doses (primary course) of the vaccination if you haven’t already. The evergreen offer of vaccination will be finishing at the end of June. After that it will only be available for people who are eligible for future booster programmes. For further information about the vaccinations follow the link.  




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Last updated: Apr 24 2023

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