RESIDENTS have called the Covid vaccine booster programme ‘absolutely ludicrous’ after being unable to book a jab in Dorset - with some reportedly having to go out of the county.

The Covid-19 booster programme has seen more than 160,000 people receive a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine in Dorset.

However, frustration is mounting across the region as more and more people struggle to get a booking for their booster jab with some reportedly trying 30 times and having to wait weeks for an appointment.

Read more:

People can now book their booster appointment five months - 152 days - after their second dose, meaning they could receive their top-up vaccine on the first day they become eligible at six months (182 days).

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 ahead of time.

Nikki Catch said: “I have been on the website about 10 times a day for five weeks with no success.

“You get to choose a time at your chosen venue and it says ‘there is a problem - choose another venue’. Called 119, they couldn’t book it and said someone from the NHS would call me within 24 hours to book an appointment, needless to say, no one called!

“Absolutely ludicrous.”

Lynn Miles from Castle Lane said: “It’s been a nightmare. Our nearest walk-in centre said Totton.

“Everything it [the NHS booking website] offered me came up unavailable when I tried to book it.

“Eventually got a Sunday appointment at a pharmacy in Ashley Heath in three weeks time.”

A spokesperson for Dorset CCG said: “In line with national guidance, we are working extremely hard to roll out the COVID-19 booster with almost 160,000 people in Dorset now vaccinated.

“We are seeing very high demand for boosters as the number of eligible people increases and patients can either wait for their GP practice to contact them or book via the national booking service (NBS) for their booster.

“We know that demand through the national booking system is extremely high and that this is creating difficulties for some people trying to book a vaccine in their local area. Available appointments continue to be added to the national booking system and we would advise people to continue to keep checking for new appointment slots.

“We are keen to encourage patients to book their booster appointment for a time near to six-months following the second dose, but would reassure them that the 6 month interval is a minimum recommended period and receiving the booster slightly later will still provide them with protection. The important thing is that people continue to come forward and take up the offer as soon as suitable appointments become available.

“We’d like to thank people for their patience during this very busy time for the NHS as we deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history.”