Previously, booster appointments could only be booked six months after the date of the second vaccination, but this has now changed to allow people to receive the top-up vaccine as soon as they qualify.
Booster vaccines can still only be given after a six-month interval, but allowing appointments to be booked at five months means people can get their jabs booked in early.
Across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW), people can receive a booster vaccination from a range of venues, including Bath Racecourse, Salisbury City Hall and the Steam Museum in Swindon.
Smaller venues, such as GP practices and community pharmacies, are also providing boosters, and people are asked to only attend a vaccination site if they have an appointment already confirmed.
Select sites offering walk-in appointments for boosters will be advertised online, and these may be outside of the local area.
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality at BSW Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Opening the booster booking system a month early will give people in line for the third dose the chance to arrange their appointment for the very day they reach the six-month milestone, or as close to that date as possible.
“This will help those most at risk of falling seriously ill with Covid-19 to get their booster vaccination promptly, and without delay.
“Coronavirus is likely to spread more during the winter months, and with the weather already getting colder, it is important that as many people as possible top-up their immunity by having the booster vaccination.”
Locally, more than 55 per cent of people currently eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccination have already come forward.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be used for boosters, with both products safe and effective for all people, regardless of which vaccine was given for their first and second dose.
All people over the age of 50, as well as all frontline health and social care workers and those aged between 16 and 64 with an underlying health condition, qualify for a booster vaccination, provided six months have passed since the date of their second Covid-19 vaccine.
As well as boosters for older people, children aged 12-15 are being encouraged to have a coronavirus vaccine, either at their place of education or at a large vaccination site during evenings and weekends.
So far, more than 11,300 of the region’s children aged 12-15 have had the required single dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with more than 47 schools having already been visited by Virgin Care’s immunisation service team.
Appointments for an out-of-school vaccination can be arranged using the National Booking Service, which is available online at www.nhs.uk or by calling 119.
Further information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, including details of vaccination sites and an extensive list of frequently asked questions, can be found at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.