The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine booster to specific groups in Ayrshire has begun.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran has begun the first stages of administering the booster jag to all frontline health and social care workers, residents in care homes for older people, all those aged 70 and over and those aged 16 and over who are on the highest risk list.

These groups are being offered both the seasonal flu and Covid-19 booster vaccines after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised they could be given alongside one another.

Adults aged 70 years and over and those 16 years and over who are on the highest risk list will be contacted by letter or by their GP from October and will be appointed to Ayrshire clinics taking place later this month.

From this week, vaccine boosters will also be administered in local care homes for both residents and employees. The first boosters are being given, too, to frontline health and social care workers, who are either being vaccinated in their place of work by NHS Ayrshire & Arran Occupational Health teams or through the mass vaccination clinics.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

People on the highest risk list who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their last Covid-19 vaccination will be offered a third primary dose.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran Public Health Director Lynne McNiven said: “Those most at risk from coronavirus will now be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine no sooner than 24 weeks (168 days) after their second Covid-19 vaccine dose, to provide longer-lasting protection against the virus.

“Together with the flu vaccine, the Covid-19 booster vaccine will boost the immunity of a large number of people in Scotland who will be offered both vaccines ahead of winter approaching.

“With increasing levels of social mixing and close social contact, this winter it is expected that Covid-19 will circulate alongside other respiratory viruses, such as flu, adding to the winter pressures usually faced by the NHS.

“We ask for patience as we work through priority lists for those eligible for both vaccines and will provide a further update when the online portal goes live for booking appointments in Ayrshire directly.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Heath Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The booster programme will run alongside our biggest ever flu vaccine programme as both of these programmes are important for individual and for public health and wherever possible, those eligible will be offered Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines together.

"I hope people will make an informed choice when considering having the Covid-19 vaccine booster and use trusted sources such as NHS Inform.”

Other eligible groups - including all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions, adult carers, unpaid and young carers, adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals and all adults over 50 - will be able to book an appointment online from late October.

For more information, click here.