Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse and vaccination lead for the Black Country and West Birmingham, has pledged to respond quickly to yesterday's announcement by the Prime Minster to bring forward second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for those most vulnerable. 

The announcement included:  

  • Second COVID-19 vaccine dose to be offered to the most vulnerable earlier to help protect against variants 

  • Strengthened surge testing, genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing measures deployed across the North West to control spread 

  • Military providing planning and logistical support. 

Local people who are most vulnerable are to be offered their second COVID-19 vaccine earlier, as part of plans to tackle rising cases of the B1.617.2 variant of concern, first identified in India. 

Appointments for a second dose of a vaccine will be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive their second dose. This is to ensure people across the Black Country and West Birmingham have the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity. 

The move follows updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence on the variant and has recommended reducing the dosing interval to help protect the nation from the variant. 

People should continue to attend their second dose appointments where already booked and nobody needs to contact the NHS.  

The NHS will let those who should bring their appointment forward know, when they are able to do so. Those aged under 50 will continue to get their first dose, with their second dose at 12 weeks, as has been the deployment strategy so far. 

Local health leaders have also urged people to let the local NHS respond to this new guidance, as vaccination sites have seen a rise in people calling and turning up today to rearrange their second doses. 

Sally Roberts said: “This move will ensure that those most vulnerable receive their second dose earlier. Please attend for your second dose when asked to do so; we will be in touch with you to make any necessary changes following the announcement yesterday.”