Booster Covid jabs will be key to keeping pressure off Northamptonshire NHS hospitals, say health chiefs
New plea over vaccines after seven deaths linked to coronavirus are confirmed in county
Health chiefs are confident vaccine boosters will stop severe Covid cases putting more pressure on the NHS in Northamptonshire.
Seven deaths in county hospitals and care homes within the last week were confirmed yesterday by the NHS and Office for National Statistics.
Five patients were being treated for the virus in Northampton General Hospital and died between Wednesday (October 6) and Sunday (October 10).
One more Covid patient sadly died in Kettering General Hospital while the other was a West Northamptonshire care home resident.
The two hospitals have now seen 35 Covid patients sadly die in four weeks to Sunday, with another three dying in West Northamptonshire care homes.
Yet the figure is still substantially lower than during the first two waves of the pandemic after more than one million jabs were delivered between December and August.
Booster jabs for over-50s and first doses for those aged between 12 and 18 are currently being rolled out across Northamptonshire after more than 500,000 took up the offer of both jabs.
Chris Pallot, director of the county's vaccination programme, said: "If you have been invited to receive the Covid-19 booster that don’t hesitate – get protected as soon as you can."
“Almost 85 per cent of our adult population has now received both doses but we need hospitalisations and deaths to remain significantly lower than last year and that means we need to also ensure booster vaccinations are taken up by those who are eligible.
"The latest national surveillance report estimates vaccines have averted approximately 230,800 hospitalisations nationally and between 119,500 and 126,800 deaths.
"Vaccinated people are far less likely to experience serious complications arising from catching Covid-19. So I continue to urge everyone who’s not yet taken up their offer of the jab to come forward and get the protection you need."
Uptake of the vaccine in Northampton and Corby remains stubbornly below the county and national average, however.
Drop-in clinics for first and second jabs are continuing across the county although boosters require appointments after being contacted by the NHS.
Local figures on age ranges of those who sadly die are not published. Nationally, however, 17 out of 132 Covid-linked deaths confirmed by the NHS yesterday (Tuesday) were among people aged under 60. Three of those were younger than 40.
Nearly 5,000 people have tested positive in the county during the last week with some neighbourhoods seeing case rates more than three times the national average.
Latest figures from NHS England confirmed the number of patients being treated for Covid-19 had risen to 92 by last Tuesday (October 5) following an influx of more than 17 patients since the previous Friday at Northampton General Hospital.
Just under half the 21 patients in critical care beds were Covid patients.
Hospital chiefs last weekend issued an appeal for families to collect loved ones who are well enough to be discharged "as soon as possible to assist our very busy teams."
■ Click HERE for details on drop-in vaccination clinics in Northamptonshire