A town theatre is among the first vaccination sites in south Essex to start offering a booster coronavirus jab.

The Towngate Theatre in Basildon is now offering third jabs to the over 50s and most vulnerable.

Those being offered a third jab must ensure it has been six months since they had their second dose of the vaccine.

Hospital hubs have started vaccinating frontline health and care workers as well as identifying other eligible patients for their booster vaccine immediately, with GP-led local vaccination services to follow in the coming days.

It means other vaccination sites in south Essex will eventually be used to administer third doses, along with jabbing those are not yet fully vaccinated.

The NHS is urging people not contact GPs to ask if they are among the 4.5m people who are eligible for a third jab.

People will get a call or text from their local GP-led site to get the jab, or will be invited by the National Booking Service.

Those who are eligible include:

• those living in residential care homes for older adults

• all adults aged 50 years or over

• frontline health and social care workers

• all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers

• adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

Catherine O’Connell, director of commissioning and executive lead for the vaccination programme for NHS England and NHS Improvement East of England, said: “Our hardworking staff have been gearing up to deliver the autumn booster programme, to give further protection to healthcare and social care workers and those most at risk from the virus.

“Now that the advice has been set out by the JCVI and once the relevant checks are in place, the NHS will invite you for your booster vaccination if you are eligible. There is no need to contact the NHS – we will be in touch with you when it is your turn to get your booster vaccine – at least six months on since your last dose.

“The fast preparations of staff to get ready for boosters comes on the back of our biggest vaccination drive in health history which has delivered more than 9.2 million vaccinations across the east of England.

“Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from COVID – so please do come forward for this top up of protection when you are invited.”