Care home residents in Basingstoke have started to receive their third doses of the Covid vaccine as the booster programme gets underway.

Over the coming months, residents aged 50 or over as well as frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and those with underlying health conditions that put them at a priority for the first two shots will receive a booster dose.

The rollout in Basingstoke started last week as Dr Vith Rahunathan, Dr Chiranthi Marston, and Dr Deborah Abbott administered the top-up doses, as well as flu jabs, to residents and eligible staff.

Dr Tim Cooper, vaccination lead at the Jameson House vaccine centre, said: "It felt a huge privilege for our teams to be heading back out to administer a Covid booster jab and flu jabs to our care home patients at Marnel Lodge.

"We know that those in care homes are at the highest risk, not just from Covid but also from other winter infections such as flu.

"To be able to get these boosters done as soon as we are able to allows us to offer the best possible protection to our care home residents.

"We know that the vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and our teams will be working flat out to get them out to all our North Hampshire residents as quickly and efficiently as we can.

"As always it’s the amazing team work of our community, social care and health care staff working together in a joined up way that has allowed us to do this so quickly."

Meanwhile, Sebastian Wiencelewski, manager at Marnel Lodge said: “We are all so delighted to know we are even more protected against COVID, especially in upcoming winter. Additional vaccine has brought more security to our lives. Our Home Ambassador Joan was leading by example and received the very first booster vaccine at Marnel.”

Statistics released in July showed that Marnel Lodge had recorded nine Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic - although Barchester, the organisation which runs the care home, told The Gazette it was preparing to challenge these numbers.

This newspaper revealed earlier this year that an outbreak killed several residents in January.