Almost a million people across Cheshire and Merseyside, who are expecting their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, are being encouraged to take up the offer as soon as they are invited.
Directors of Public Health in Cheshire and Merseyside are urging people to attend their appointments even though they may feel they are already protected from the virus.
More than 1.4 million vaccines have already been delivered in Cheshire and Merseyside with around 95% of over 70s now having received their first dose.
But as second dose appointments gather pace, people are reminded that they only have maximum protection if they have both doses.
Some people may have experienced mild side-affects with the first dose, however this is a sign that the vaccine is working and triggering your immune response. Directors of Public Health say that the possibility of feeling unwell after the second dose is much less common.
They are also reminding people who have been vaccinated to ensure that they continue to keep following the rules around social-distancing and mixing with others. People, no matter what their vaccine status, are also urged to continue getting tested as restrictions are eased, to protect themselves and their loved ones.
You can collect home test kits or book a test for Covid-19 at a local testing centre by visiting the Cheshire East web site.
Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health for Cheshire East Council, said: “We’ve seen a great response from local residents in turning out to get their first dose of the vaccine, with a great sense of excitement at GP’s and vaccination centres.
“It’s important that this momentum continues through to second doses, and everyone remembers to attend their follow up appointment to give themselves the maximum level of protection from the virus.”
Ian Ashworth, chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board and director of public health for Cheshire West and Chester said: “The first dose of the vaccine offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need a second dose.
“Even if you are vaccinated, it is essential to keep washing your hands, wearing a mask when needed and keeping your distance. Everyone has made huge sacrifices to bring the case numbers down and we want to ensure we don’t see any further rises in the future.”
The Government has reported that there will be a significant reduction in weekly vaccine supply from the beginning of April for a four-week period. The focus during this period will be on ensuring second doses of the vaccine are delivered and that no one is left behind, teams across the region are looking at innovative schemes to take the vaccine to those individuals and communities that have lower uptake of the vaccine.
It is therefore even more important that people aged 40 and above, health and care workers, people with an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk and anyone called for a second dose take up the offer now.
The NHS has been inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text with GPs also calling some patients.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more vaccination centres or pharmacies across Cheshire.