MORE than a million people across Hampshire and Isle of Wight have now received their COVID-19 booster jab - marking a major milestone for local delivery of the vaccination programme.

As of New Year’s Eve 1,005,487 booster jabs have been given to people in our communities thanks to the tremendous efforts of health and care teams across the area.

Maggie MacIsaac, chief executive of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS), said: “This is an incredible achievement and testament to the outstanding continued efforts of everyone supporting the vaccination programme locally for the benefit of our communities. A huge thank you to all those involved. We don't stop here - we will now redouble our efforts to ensure as many people as possible receive their booster, maximising their protection against COVID-19.

"There are opportunities to get vaccinated at walk-in clinics provided by GP practices, outreach clinics, hospital hubs, mass vaccination centres and pharmacies in the coming days. If you haven’t yet had your booster jab please do take up the offer sooner rather than later.”

Jane Ansell, senior responsible officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “I would like to thank every single person who has helped us to achieve this milestone. There is still time to get protected, with a range of walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held in the coming days and more appointments being regularly added to the National Booking Service. The offer is not time-limited so anyone invited can have the vaccine – even if they have previously declined and changed their mind.”

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and clinical lead of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, added: “Health and care teams have worked tirelessly to rapidly increase the availability of COVID-19 vaccines across Hampshire and Isle of Wight in recent weeks. We are hugely grateful to all of our colleagues, partners and volunteers for their efforts in helping to ensure as many people as possible are protected against the virus.

“Latest evidence shows that two vaccines to do not give us the protection we need from Omicron due to the speed at which the variant spreads, However a booster can restore protection to around 75 per cent, so I strongly encourage everyone eligible to take up the offer of a booster as soon as possible.”

From Monday, January 3, mass vaccination centres run by Solent NHS Trust at St James’s Hospital, Portsmouth, Riverside on the Isle of Wight and Oakley Road in Southampton will open for walk-ins from 8am to 8pm daily. Appointments in Hampshire and Isle of Wight also continue to be regularly added to the National Booking Service.

Angela Anderson, deputy chief nurse at Solent NHS Trust, which runs the mass vaccination centres in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said: “We are proud to have been part of the biggest vaccination programme that the NHS has ever seen, working alongside our partners to help keep our communities safe. This achievement is testament to all the staff and volunteers working in the vaccination programme. Since we first opened the mass vaccination centres for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in January 2020, it’s been fantastic to see so many people coming forward to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, and knowing that we have contributed to this significant milestone.”

Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), added: “It is fantastic that we have, collectively, reached such an amazing milestone – a real, positive and significant step towards protecting our shared community and loved ones. Of course there is more to do but, thanks to the largest vaccine roll out in history, and your help, we will get there together.”