THE area’s health boss has addressed the concerns people in Swindon might be having about the coronavirus vaccine.

Questions about travelling abroad, vaccinating those aged between 12 and 16 and booking jab appointments were answered by Gill May, the director of nursing and quality for the Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wiltshire presenter Graham Rogers yesterday, Mrs May confirmed the NHS is now starting to make plans to invite children to have the Pfizer vaccine.

Asked about why those under 40 are being offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine she said: “For those people that have received the AstraZeneca in some cases there was a relationship between that and some blood clotting.

“I must reiterate, it is a rare event. However, the clinical trials continue, and we have therefore advised that age groups under 40 should be offered a different alternative, that does not mean in any way that we are offering something risky to those over 40.

“That is not the case.”

She has urged people to look at official data and to avoid information shared on social media “which do not give the correct information”.

For those with allergies after their first dose, she encouraged them to approach their GP and seek help.

She added: “We have put in place clear support where people have allergies or have had symptoms to be able to get their second vaccine done in an alternative setting.”

She reassured those who previously tested positive for Covid-19 that they are now less likely to catch the disease again.

“We now have got a great population of people who are vaccinated, not only once but they’ve got their second dose,” she said. “That means that the chances of getting this virus again are very much reduced.”

People have been complaining over the past few weeks they are unable to book a vaccine appointment locally once they become eligible for the jab.

Mrs May said: “If you live in Swindon now, if you book on the national booking system, you will indeed see the Steam come up as an option to get your vaccine.

“There’s also a number of pharmacies for you to get your vaccine.

“Go back onto that site to see what those alternatives are. All our GP practices that are still going forward with the under-50s, cohort they are on the national booking service.”

From next week, people in England will be able to travel abroad.

Mrs May said: “We all need to really think about our decision we’re going to make this summer to where we go.

“I know, because I feel it myself, how desperate we are just to get away, to get out of our homes and our local areas and indeed to see some sun this year.”

The “stay in the UK” restriction will lift, and people will be able to travel to “green list” countries, such as Portugal.

“The government will do an awful lot of work to make sure that those countries on the green list are safe to go,” Mrs May said.

“However, we all need to recognise that it needs to be personally monitored and that even going on our green list, we need to go with some caution, be really careful.”

She added: “We are going to watch that closely to understand the impact of people returning from abroad back into our area.

“We do know that the vaccine programme we have achieved will go some way into protecting us, but we are planning that we do need to be prepared to see some impact of impact of different strains or picking up this virus again.

“We do not anticipate we would go back to where we were 12-14 months ago, but we have got to make preparation for it.

“We just need to think carefully about the decisions we make this summer.”

Mrs May said the ambition remains to offer the first dose to all adults by the end of July.

She added: “We would then be moving to giving the second vaccine and then we are looking at where boosters are needed.”