COVID booster jab capacity will be increased on the Isle of Wight, following frustration of many residents who have been unable to book appointments.
There will be more walk-in vaccine opportunities starting this weekend with a roving, mobile booster vaccine bus.
Since the booster programme was announced, Islanders have struggled to get appointments for their third jab: some have been directed to the mainland; others struggled to get an appointment through the national booking system and there has been widespread confusion across social media.
Having listened to Islanders’ access concerns in the last few weeks, Alison Smith, managing director of the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), last night (Monday) announced measures to increase the Island’s COVID booster capacity.
Speaking to the Isle of Wight Council’s health and social care scrutiny committee, Ms Smith said the bus will visit 3 towns — Freshwater, Ventnor and Sandown twice — between Thursday and Sunday, with the capacity to vaccinate between 250 and 500 people per site but 1,750 vaccines overall.
Ms Smith said:
“I apologise for the confusion, it was not our intention and we will do all we can to unravel this and make sure everybody has the opportunity to get their booster. We need to do better.”
The CCG has been contacted for more information but final details like where and when will be confirmed in the next 24 to 48 hours.
A pop-up clinic will also open at the Isle of Wight College for those 16 and 17-year-olds who have not yet taken up the vaccine offer.
Overall, 62% of those over 40 on the Island have had their booster vaccine and it was announced yesterday (Monday) boosters would be made available to all those over 18 as long as there was a long enough period between their second and third jab.
The vaccine booster rollout was heavily criticised by the scrutiny committee although it was also thankful for the hard work of vaccination teams and volunteers.
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