HAMPSHIRE residents are being urged to get their Covid booster jab as bookings open.

The Covid vaccination programme has today started taking online and phone bookings for the booster jab.

Vulnerable people across the county are being invited to top up their protection ahead of winter, six months or more after receiving their second jab.

They do not need to contact the NHS but will be invited when it is their turn. Texts and letters are going out to around 1.5 million people this week

Those in line for a booster jab include everyone aged 50 and over, frontline health and social care workers and those aged between 16 and 49 with an underlying health condition putting them at greater risk from the virus.

People can either book online via the NHS website or by phoning 119.

Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy vaccine lead for the vaccine programme, has called on people to book their top up vaccine as soon as they are invited to ensure they get extra protection ahead of winter.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the covid vaccination programme, said: “An incredible 77 million vaccinations have taken place since the largest vaccination programme in NHS history launched, and thanks to hard-working NHS staff within 48 hours of receiving the advice the NHS has put booster vaccines in people’s arms along with starting the school vaccination programme also.

“Now that the National Booking Service has opened to people eligible for a booster it’s time to book yourself in, it’s the quickest and most convenient way to book your jab in - and by the time you’ve finished reading this story, you could be booked in with peace of mind knowing when you’re having your booster jab.

“The vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your family and friends as we head in to winter when we know Covid can present a bigger risk to our health.”

While some hospital hubs and primary care sites began offering boosters last week, the programme will ramp up over the coming days as more vaccination centres and pharmacy-led clinics come online.

With a minimum of six months required between the second and booster dose, some people in the original nine priority groups may not become eligible until early next year.

The booster programme will be delivered through existing sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres.