As the race to offer everyone a Covid booster vaccine before the end of the year commences, three health professionals have shared with Your Local Guardian the pressure they’re under to help keep everyone safe this Christmas.

Health professionals across Croydon’s health services have been taking part in the vaccine programme over the last year.

On Sunday November 12, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and said: “Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year.

“To hit the pace we need, we’ll need to match the NHS’s best vaccination day yet – and then beat it day after day.”

The Croydon Health Service NHS Trust- like other NHS locations across the UK, has had to adapt to this quick turn-a-round of events.

Three health professionals across the Croydon NHS Trust spoke with Your Local Guardian about the “fastest roll out in heath service history”.

Your Local Guardian:

Although the NHS face an “increasing amount of pressure” already, Croydon health professionals of the Covid-19 pandemic are still urging the public to get the vaccine and are planning to “do everything they can to protect as many local residents as possible”.

Matthew Kershaw, chief executive and place-based leader for health said: “We’ve been vaccinating for over a year now and are well placed to deliver the booster vaccine to Croydon residents.

“Our hospital hubs are one of just many sites across the borough which will be helping to protect local people this winter, so you can access a booster jab close to you.”

Matthew said the booster jab is the “fastest roll out in health service history” but has no doubt that his team will “do everything they can to protect as many local residents as possible”.

He explained: “This is by far the biggest and fastest roll-out of a vaccine programme in health service history and it comes at a time when the NHS is already under increasing pressure.

“The spread of the Omicron variant means that we need to work even more quickly and I’ve got no doubt our teams will do everything they can to protect as many local residents as possible.”

The decision to roll out the booster jab to all adults is a result of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Memuna Sowe, clinical matron for the Covid-19 vaccine roll out said: “Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for a booster three months after their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s really simple to get your booster, just book online using the national booking service or walk in to one of the many vaccination sites in Croydon to protect yourself and your loved ones this Christmas."

Your Local Guardian:

Memuna said “the vaccine is our greatest source of protection from Covid-19” but “immunity wanes over time”.

“A third booster dose raises your level of protection back up to over 70 percent, helping to reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill this winter.

“That being said, it’s not too late to get your first two doses of the vaccine and we’d encourage anyone who has yet to have their jabs, to come forward and make sure that they’re protecting themselves and their loved ones.”

The NHS team in Croydon are offering the booster jabs across services such as GPs, pharmacists and soon-to-be pop-up vaccination centres.

Becky Board, associate director of operations for Covid-19 response and recovery in Croydon said: “We’re working across the health and care system in Croydon to roll out the booster vaccine to over 18s.

Your Local Guardian:

“As well as vaccinating in the hospital, local GPs, pharmacists and teams working in vaccine centres are delivering thousands of jabs every day.

“More pop-up vaccination sessions are planned in the coming weeks, and we’d encourage everyone to get their appointments booked as soon as possible, to increase their protection from the new Omicron variant.”

The health services in Croydon are working alongside local community groups, faith leaders and voluntary organisations to increase awareness of the booster programme.

To keep on top of changes at the trust, all guidance from the government is “reviewed and implemented.”

Becky added: “We’ve been adapting to changing guidance for almost two years now, ensuring that we are following Government advice throughout the pandemic.

“To make sure we stay on top of any changes, we have a team of clinical and operational leaders who review all of the guidance we receive and make sure that it’s implemented across the trust, keeping patients and staff safe."

From today (November 15), all over-18s in the UK can book their booster jabs online – as long as it’s been three months since second dose of a vaccine.