The local NHS is reminding anyone aged 18 and over that they are eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination and is asking them to book their appointment to help return to normal life as soon as possible.

Vaccination sites are open throughout the county with a number of pharmacies recently coming on-line to offer protection against the virus.

A full list of sites can be found at www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/vaccinations.

Local GP Dr Andy Rutland said “People are desperate to return to normal life – for example going to concerts, events or clubs – at the earliest opportunity and we are reminding anyone aged 18 and over not to wait until they are invited, but to get on and book their jab as soon as they can.  Cases across Dorset are definitely on the rise and we know that vaccination offers protection against serious illness and hospitalisation as well as reducing risk to those close to you.

“We are delighted that there is such a demand for vaccinations both nationally and locally and the fact that we have delivered over 900,000 doses in Dorset shows that the vast majority of people are keen to get protected. We know however that there are still some people that – for whatever reason – haven’t made up their mind yet and haven’t booked an appointment.

“If people do still have questions we are asking them to get the facts via the NHS website and make an informed decision – the jab is still the best way of protecting yourself against COVID and we are waiting to give you that protection.”

Sophie (21) from Bournemouth is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated having recently had her first vaccination.

She said “After what seems like years of not being able to do anything, most of the people I know are really keen to get the jab so we can start enjoying ourselves again and there are very few of us who aren’t going to get vaccinated as soon as we can.

I would encourage anyone who is hesitating to find out the facts before they make a decision – we are so close to going back to normal, let’s not spoil it now!”

There is still a chance you could catch or spread COVID-19 even after you’ve had the vaccine, so residents are also encouraged to take part in regular rapid testing. 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms so by testing you can check you’re not unknowingly passing the virus to those around you.

It’s free, quick and easy and tests can be ordered online or collected from participating pharmacies.

There are over 20 places to get a COVID vaccination in Dorset.

For more information and to book your jab visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.

If you are aged between 18 and 25, please ensure your local practice has your most up to date contact details. It may be that because you are in full time education and registered elsewhere, or have changed your number and not let your practice have your new number.

This can be done easily updated using the NHS App.