The message for Islanders trying to get a Covid-19 booster jab is not to book an appointment on the mainland, as confusion reigns about how we can access the extra layer of protection that the government says is vital.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the area that includes the Isle of Wight insists there is both capacity and supply, for all those trying to get their third coronavirus jab.

It is advising that GPs will contact eligible Islanders and said travel across the Solent was not necessary.

However, many continue to tell the County Press they are only being offered mainland appointments through the official NHS booking system.

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By contrast, one Portsmouth resident told us she was offered a slot at Newport's Riverside Centre.

Parts of Europe have entered a new lockdown this week and the Government's vaccine minister has advised us to get a booster jab 'as soon as possible.'

December 11 has been named, by the Department of Health and Social Care, as the deadline to ensure high protection in time for Christmas.

Currently eligible for booster jabs are: Those aged 40 and over; those aged 16 and over and who have a health condition that puts them at high risk from Covid-19; and frontline health and social care workers.

Booster jabs are being offered 182 days (6 months) after the date of your 2nd dose.

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As pressure builds, Madeleine Reeder told us on Facebook that while she was able to book a booster via her GP, her partner was offered a mainland appointment.

When Madeleine attended her appointment at Westridge, her partner joined a queue for walk-ins and they were 'both out within half an hour.' 

Jacqui Scales booked a booster online, at the Riverside Centre in Newport, but her husband could only get a mainland appointment.

She said: "He called 119 to report the error and they couldn't help, so rang the surgery and they got him an appointment."

Roger Godwin said: "I was offered Portsmouth or Southampton last week, by the NHS website."

Others have told us that walk-ins are possible at Westridge, while a West Wight resident said she was told to "call back in the New Year," when she contacted her GP.

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The CCG said there had been an overwhelming response and that it understood the frustration.

It said its teams are working hard to open up additional appointments.

The Riverside Centre is not accepting walk-in appointments, but the CCG said it remains very busy with pre-booked appointments.

  • We have asked for a comment from the director of public health for the Isle of Wight, Simon Bryant.

Dr Matt Nisbet, clinical lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: "Almost a year into the programme we are still vaccinating around 5,500 people every week on the Isle of Wight, which is a truly huge achievement by all of the staff and volunteers involved.

"We have sufficient vaccine supplies and dedicated teams are doing all they can to ensure those eligible can take up the offer of a jab on the island – whether it is a first or second dose, or a booster vaccine where appropriate – as soon as possible."