Vaccination programme being stepped up in North West for start of New Year

The NHS in the North West is pulling out all the stops at the start of the New Year, to make sure that access to the Covid-19 vaccination and booster continues to be as easy and convenient as possible.

By Richard Hunt
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 6:30 pm
The NHS in the North West is stepping up its vaccine programme
The NHS in the North West is stepping up its vaccine programme

As the number of people in hospital with Covid is on the rise, the region’s lead doctor is urging anyone who has yet to be jabbed to roll up their sleeves and come forward to protect themselves, their family, and their friends against the surging Omicron variant.

NHS North West medical director Dr David Levy said: “If you are one of the people who are yet to come forward for either your first, second or booster jab, I would urge you to get jabbed in order to protect yourself, your family and friends.

"I know from looking at the figures for our region that the majority of people in our hospitals as a result of Covid have either not been vaccinated at all, or have not had the full recommended course of the vaccine.

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“We’ve now got 1,498 people in hospital beds with Covid, which has gone up by two thirds in a week. Around 10% of all young adults tested positive last week and unfortunately the majority of people being admitted to hospital are younger adults.

“I understand that some people may have wanted to wait until after the Christmas and New Year break, and others just wanted to wait and see what happened with the roll out of the vaccine. But a year on, it’s really clear that the vaccine is safe, effective and has saved lives.

“Even if you think you’ve had the Covid virus already, you won’t have the same level of protection that you would get from the vaccine. For the vast majority of people the side-effects from having the Covid vaccine are mild, compared to the symptoms from the virus itself or the longer term effects of Long Covid, and indicate that the vaccine is successfully stimulating your immune system.

“We’ve got more vaccine clinics and appointments available than ever, so this is an ideal opportunity at the start of the New Year to get your jab”.

So far, more than 13.7 million doses of the vaccine have been given in the region, which includes 3.4m boosters.

As viruses mutate they can become more resistant to vaccines, however the NHS says recent evidence shows that a third booster increases protection to over 90 per cent.

More than seven in ten people have already had their booster, which lead scientists say is needed to give protection against the Omicron variant of the Covid virus.

In its recent update, the UKHSA estimated that, as of September 24, 127,500 deaths and 24,144,000 infections have been prevented across the UK as a result of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The NHS Covid vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in health service history, continued over the festive period in England. In the first three weeks in December, 69,700 people came forward for the vaccine for the first time across the North West.

Alongside the booster programme the health service continues to offer two initial doses for adults aged 18 and over, vaccines for children and younger people aged 12-15 and third doses for people with health conditions that weaken their immune systems.

Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, who is Regional Director of Commissioning at NHS England and Improvement and Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme in the North West, added “The vaccine programme has been a great success, however we need to continue to encourage as many people as possible to come forward.

“That’s why across the North West we have been taking the vaccine out to local communities, working with community groups and faith leaders, to ensure that those people who are most vulnerable to the Covid virus take up the offer of a vaccine.

“We’ve currently got over 200 pop-up vaccine sites, as well as the more established mass and local vaccination sites. I’d urge anyone who is ready to have their Covid vaccine to either call 119 to book an appointment or search for the National Booking Service online, which shows available appointments and there is also a site finder to locate vaccine walk-in centres which is updated regularly”.