Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Appointmen­ts can be arranged on portal

- MICHAEL PRINGLE

Residents in Monklands who are aged 40 to 49-years-old can now book their Covid booster jag in advance.

Appointmen­ts for those in this age bracket are being urged to use the NHS Inform portal or national phoneline to secure a slot.

The slots must be at least 24 weeks after receiving a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

NHS Lanarkshir­e also advise that 16 and 17-year-olds can also use the portal to book a slot for their second dose of the vaccine as long as 12 weeks have passed since their first dose.

However, anyone with a confirmed case of the virus since the first dose should wait for 12 weeks after that.

The portal is already open for the 50 to 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 earlier groups who missed an appointmen­t can also book online.

As the portal is now being opened to even more cohorts, 50 to 59-yearolds who have not yet booked an appointmen­t for their booster will be contacted shortly to invite them to make a booking as soon as possible via the portal or national phone line.

Dr Jane Burns, NHS Lanarkshir­e medical director, told us: “The expansion of the Covid-19 vaccine booster to those aged 40 to 49 marks another significan­t milestone in the autumn/winter vaccinatio­n programme.

“Boosters are just as important as the initial vaccinatio­ns. Six months after the second dose, immunity levels wane 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.

“We encourage all those eligible to arrange their appointmen­t via the portal or phoneline for 24 weeks after their second dose.”

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told how the NHS has delivered more than 1.5 million boosters and third doses across the country.

He added: “The excellent progress with the autumn / winter vaccinatio­n programme now allows us to invite people aged 40 to 49-year-olds to book online.

“We aim to vaccinate people as quickly as possible in line with clinical guidance and over the course of the autumn/winter vaccinatio­n programme, we will see up to 7.5 million flu and Covid-19 booster vaccinatio­ns administer­ed.

“While vaccinatio­n is the bedrock of our fight against Covid-19, we encourage everyone to follow mitigation­s such as regular testing, particular­ly before socialisin­g and meeting up with others people from outside your household, wearing face marks where required and opening windows to improve ventilatio­n.”

A unique vaccinatio­n username is needed to use the portal to book an appointmen­t. It can be found on previous appointmen­t letters. It can also be located or reset at NHS Inform’s “recover username” page.

Appointmen­ts can also be made through the National Helpline on 0800 030 8013.

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