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Health charities back vaccine drive for those at risk

People with underlying conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease are being encouraged to come forward for a COVID-19 vaccine by leading UK health charities in an open letter.

Frontline charities, including Mencap, Diabetes UK and Lupus UK, have asked those with underlying medical conditions, their carers and those with learning disabilities on their GP register, to book a vaccination to protect themselves and those around them from coronavirus.

People in cohort 6 have been prioritised for the vaccine because they have conditions that mean they are more likely to become seriously unwell from coronavirus.

More than half of those in cohort 6 have already received their first dose of the vaccine and it’s hoped that the charities’ letter – alongside text messages from the NHS – will help to increase take up further among those in this at-risk group.

The charities who signed the open letter are among 22 who have joined together in partnership to reassure those they support about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

GP services already have been contacting this cohort but those who have not yet received a letter can get a quick and convenient appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy by using the national booking system or calling 119. The NHS have sent text messages to people in this group with a link so they can book their appointment.

The vaccine is safe and effective and very few people are advised not to have it. However, if you have any concerns, you can discuss these if you book over the phone, or with a health professional at your appointment.