Plans are being developed to deliver the recently expanded coronavirus (COVID-19) booster vaccine programme that means an extra 33,000 jabs need to be delivered by the end of January 2022 to help prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant.
Additional walk-in and mobile vaccine clinics for first, second and booster vaccines will provide more opportunities for residents to receive vital protection from the virus.
All residents aged 40 and over, the clinically vulnerable, and frontline health and social care staff yet to have their booster jabs should come forward if it is 3 months or more since their second vaccine.
Residents aged 18 to 39 should wait to be contacted by their GP to help the NHS manage the expanded booster vaccine and ensure those at greater risk receive vaccines sooner.
The move follows the recent government announcement to accelerate the rollout of the booster vaccination programme and expand eligibility to help tackle the new Omicron variant.
Across the borough over 55,000 people have already had their booster jab and just short of 300,000 first and second vaccines have been administered since the programme began in December 2020.
Councillor Daalat Ali, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for public health, said: "Our challenge is to ensure that any resident who is eligible for a booster vaccine is offered one by the end of January. To meet that challenge, we're expanding our vaccine walk-in clinics to provide more opportunities for these residents to turn up without an appointment and grab a jab. Additionally, these clinics are also offering first and second vaccines for people who have not yet received those. It's really important that people have the booster and helps protect themselves, their family, friends and the community."
He added: "I'd also like to reassure anyone aged 18–39 that they will be contacted by their GP in due course about their booster and, like the original vaccine roll out, we are working through the prior age groups in descending order. By the end of January, everyone who can have a booster jab will have been contacted. I am proud of the work we have done, in partnership, to deliver our vaccine programme and the response of our residents has been brilliant. There's still lots more to do, so let's have a really big push in the coming weeks to protect ourselves and the community and keep each other safe over the winter."
Dr Mo Jiva, chair of the Rochdale Health Alliance and a Middleton GP, said: "Throughout the pandemic our approach has seen us quickly respond to changing circumstances and put in place a local offer that meets the needs of our residents. That's why we are putting on more walk in clinics, including at weekends, to ensure that anyone who can have a booster gets one. We will be working through the age groups, with older people being targeted first. At the moment our priority is those aged 40 and above and then we will quickly move on to the 18 to 39 age group. We also want to manage expectations and reassure everyone that by the end of January, if you can have a booster, you will have been offered one. It's critical that, as we go into the winter period, we make it as easy as possible for people to protect themselves, their loved ones and the community."