As local COVID-19 case rates remain high, more than three quarters of over 40s polled in Milton Keynes say they’re are intending to get their COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible - and almost 90% are committed to getting a booster at some point.
Over 40s become eligible to receive a booster vaccination from Monday 22 November, as long as it’s been six months (182 days) since their second vaccination. This change means around 35,000 additional people in Milton Keynes will become eligible.
Until Monday, over 50s plus adults in particularly vulnerable groups (such as those with underlying health conditions, or frontline health and social care workers) have been the only groups eligible for a booster vaccination.
On Monday itself, anyone over 40 who had their second vaccination on or before 24 May can receive a booster. The NHS plans to contact people in this age group directly to let them know when it is their turn to come forward, and over 40s will also be able to book via the National Booking Service or drop into a walk-in centre where available.
Milton Keynes Council ran a poll among its social media followers to ask how likely local people were to seek a booster. 77% said they intended to have a booster vaccination as soon as they could do so. An additional 11% said they would do it at some point. The remaining 12% weren’t sure of their plans or said they didn’t plan to be boosted.
Studies released by the UK Health and Security Agency show that people who have had a booster vaccination are four times less likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to people who had received two vaccinations more than five months ago.
Deputy Director of Public Health for Milton Keynes, Oliver Mytton said: “I urge people to come forward for their booster, as vaccination remains the single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. A booster dose isn’t just a nice to have, they are transformative. The protection after a booster dose is better than it ever was after two doses.”
“However, it’s still possible to catch and spread COVID-19 even if you’re fully vaccinated, and the risk is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated places; exactly where people will be spending time as they socialise or run their pre-Christmas errands. It’s really important to keep taking precautions like wearing a face covering, taking regular tests even if you feel well, and making sure you properly ventilate indoor spaces when meeting with others.”
Top precautions to reduce the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 are:
- Be fully vaccinated. Find out more about booster vaccinations including walk-in sessions at www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/covid-19/booster.
- Stay at home if you have COVID-19 symptoms and book a PCR test as soon as possible. Use lateral flow tests regularly even if you have no symptoms, as one in three people with COVID-19 will not experience symptoms.
- Wear a face covering wherever you’re coming into contact with people you don’t know, especially if it’s a busy place.
- When meeting up with people you don’t live with, choose an outdoor space if you can or open windows to let fresh air in if you meet indoors.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly – especially before and after coming into contact with areas touched by many people, and before eating.