News from our partners: COVID-19 Autumn Booster rollout off to a good start locally
News from our partners NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service
The NHS autumn booster campaign in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has got off to a great start, with over 60,000 vaccines delivered in just over three weeks of the programme and thousands already booked in for the weeks ahead.
Steve Ellis, Programme and Service Director for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin’s Vaccination Service, said:-
“With experts warning of a double pandemic of COVID-19 and flu this winter, we are delighted to see so many people coming forward for their jabs to get protected in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.
“We want to ensure that everyone gets the protection they need as quickly and conveniently as possible. It is vital that as soon as you are eligible for a COVID-19 or flu vaccine you get protected ahead of winter, especially as we are already seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community and our hospitals.”
The Midlands is the first region in England to hit the milestone and has achieved 1,025,360 of the country’s total vaccinations of 5,144,324. So far, over 411,000 appointments in the West Midlands have been booked since 12 September. Many more people are getting their vaccinations through walk-in clinics.
People aged 65 and over, the severely immunosuppressed and frontline health and care workers are being urged to get vaccinated without delay ahead of a potential ‘twindemic’ of COVID-19 and flu this winter.
Everyone who takes up the booster vaccine this autumn will increase their protection ahead of the winter months, when respiratory viruses are typically at their peak.
Cases of COVID-19 are rising in the community, with latest figures showing that there are over 1,400 patients with COVID-19 in the region’s hospitals, with 4,258 cases in the West Midlands (153 in Telford and Wrekin, and 243 in Shropshire) having been reported in the seven days up to 29 September 2022.
There are more over 30 sites in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin that are now offering COVID-19 boosters – mainly community pharmacies and GP premises as well as a few bigger centres – so it should be more convenient than ever for people to get their vaccinations.
The NHS is also rolling out this year’s flu vaccine, with eligible people able to get their flu and COVID-19 jab at the same time at some GP practices and community pharmacists.
Roz Lindridge, the NHS England director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said:-
“It has been brilliant to see so many coming forward for their all-important autumn booster. The NHS is leaving no stone unturned in its mission to stop the potential ‘twindemic’ this winter, with over one million autumn booster jabs already delivered and our flu campaign well underway to combat lower than usual levels of immunity to flu due to quieter flu seasons over the pandemic.
“The vaccine is still our best protection against this difficult virus and with the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 on the rise once again, I urge anyone eligible for the autumn booster to book their latest dose without delay through the national booking system or by calling 119.”
The NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service is also now offering appointments to carers and pregnant women, with bookings able to be made online or over the phone.
Two vaccines have been approved that can be used as boosters this autumn and winter – one from Moderna, and the second from Pfizer. Both have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to target both the original (Wuhan), and Omicron BA1, strains of the virus.