BOOSTER jabs are being rolled out to eligible people in Somerset - as vaccinations to start in schools.

Eligible people, who had their second Covid jab at least six months ago, are starting to be invited by national letter and text for a top up booster jab, while jabs are set to be delivered to people aged 12 to 15 in schools from this week.

Anyone eligible for the booster shot does not need to contact the NHS to arrange the vaccine.

Once you have received the national invitation you will need to go on to the National Booking System or call 119 to book your booster dose.

With 4.5 million people in priority groups becoming eligible for a booster over the coming weeks and months, the NHS is asking people to wait for the national invitation before attempting to book and do not contact the NHS or Primary Care in the meantime.

Vaccination sites are up and running across the county, with the NBS able to identify the options available.

Full vaccination rollout will begin from next week, as more vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led sites come online, giving people further protection from the virus ahead of winter.

Booster jabs are effective for topping up protection for people who have had both of their jabs from at the very least six months on after their second dose.

This means that some of those in the original nine priority groups will not be eligible for their top-up until the New Year.

The booster programme will be delivered through existing and additional vaccination sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, some GP practices and vaccine centres and care home residents and staff will be prioritised to ensure they are offered a vaccine by the beginning of November.

Andy Heron, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset COVID vaccination programme, said: “The NHS will invite you for your booster vaccination. There is no need to contact us; we will be in touch with you when it is your turn to get your booster vaccine – at least six months on since your last dose.

“Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from covid – so please do come forward for this top up of protection when you are invited.

“The health system is already very busy - so in advance of winter we are asking everyone to do what they can to both help themselves and to alleviate the pressure on local services. This includes getting a flu jab when offered, making sure you know where their local services are and getting protected against Covid-19."

In the nine months since the largest vaccination programme in NHS history began, 77 million vaccinations have been delivered, with four in five adults already receiving both doses of protection.

In the South West, more than 8.3 million vaccines have been given which means 99.4% of our population in our priority cohorts 1-9, all those over the age of 50, health and social care workers and those considered clinically vulnerable have received vaccinations.

Local areas have already been identifying and vaccinating people aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed with a third jab following updated guidance from the JCVI in early September.

Last week, the Government accepted the advice of the four chief medical officers to offer a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all healthy 12-15-year-olds and the NHS is working with partners and the School Age Immunisation Service to deliver this with children due to start getting the jabs in schools from this week.