Older adults in the Island are among the first to use a new system for booking vaccination booster jabs online, which has gone live today.
The system offers Manx residents a convenient way to book their slot at the Chester St Vaccination Clinic, while helping fill up available appointments and relieving pressure on the 111 service.
The Island’s booster programme is being rolled out in priority group order, in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Older adults and people with certain medical conditions are currently being offered a top-up to their immunity over the winter months.
People aged 60 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable can now go online to book an appointment - wherever possible on their preferred date, subject to slots being available.
This represents Priority Groups 1-7 designated by the JCVI in the original vaccination rollout.
For now, only people in these groups can book online and only for appointments next week. The capacity of the system is being developed, and over the next few weeks as online bookings expand, the system will be opened to further age groups.
The booking process involves filling in the online form which asks the user for their NHS number before checking their eligibility for a booster vaccination and that appointments are currently available for their age or priority group. The request will be acknowledged and the person will subsequently be sent an email with their appointment date and time, with a reminder email issued 48 hours ahead.
People who have already received an appointment in the post remain booked in and should attend the appointment they have been given.
Minister for Health and Social Care Lawrie Hooper MHK said:
‘Moving bookings online offers flexibility and convenience for the public, and gives people responsibility for making their own appointment when they’re invited to do so. This will free-up the 111 team to deal with rising requests for PCR tests following recent border changes and the emergence of the omicron variant.
He added: ‘Extending the booster vaccination rollout means thousands more Manx residents have become eligible for a booster jab, and I hope as many as possible will take up the offer. But please help us to help you, and book online when the team is ready to vaccinate your age group. We will keep people updated on when to do this.’
Those already booked in and those currently invited to make an online booking - adults aged 65 years and over and those with certain medical conditions - can also use the online form to join a standby list, indicating they are willing to attend for a booster at short notice, should an appointment become available before their booked slot.
This option is designed to fill up empty slots, making best use of staff and resources at the booster clinics and preventing wastage of vaccine. Those with an appointment letter should not contact 111 to request an earlier appointment, but if they add themselves to the short-notice list, they may be offered an earlier appointment when there is availability.
The system will identify people who attempt to make a booking before appointments for their age group are available. They will be contacted automatically and advised to follow a link back to the booking system when bookings are open for their age group.
Information on the latest age group invited to log on and book their booster appointments will be widely publicised through the local media, on the government website and via social media.
The public are asked not to call 111 while waiting for their age group to be called.
People should book online wherever possible and ask for support from family or friends if they need help. Those who are unable to do so should call 111 to request an appointment. Currently, self-booked appointments cannot be modified by the person who made the booking, and people are asked to make every effort to attend their slot. If they cannot attend, they should call 111 to re-book.