Grab a booster jab to keep Covid-19 off your Christmas list, plea from Northamptonshire health chiefs
History shows that we cannot afford to be complacent over the virus, warns PM
Health chiefs in Northamptonshire are echoing a call by Boris Johnson to grab a booster jab and save Christmas.
The Prime Minister confirmed that follow-up jabs would be made available to 40-to-49-year-olds amid fears waning protection from initial doses could spark a rise in hospital cases.
Yet fewer than a quarter of eligible over-50s have so far taken up offers of a booster jabs, according to official figures.
Chris Pallot, Director of the county's vaccination programme, said: “Christmas is a hugely important time when we want to be able to get together with loved ones and enjoy the festivities.
"None of us want to have Covid as an unwelcome guest in our homes.
"Having your vaccine this week will give you the maximum protection you need ahead of Christmas to protect you and those around you."
■ Click HERE for up to up-to-date information on drop-in jab clinics in Northamptonshire
More than one million first and second jabs have been delivered across the county with over 78 percent having at least one dose.
Yet research showing the effectiveness of vaccines can reduce after six months and has been pinpointed as a possible reason behind recent rises in hospital cases and deaths.
Latest figures published on Wednesday (November 17) showed 3,257 positive tests during the previous seven days in Northamptonshire compared to 2,935 a week earlier.
NHS hospitals in Northampton and Kettering were treating 99 Covid patients according to latest NHS data while at least 21 deaths among Covid patients were confirmed since November 1.
Three people being treated for the virus are so far confirmed to have sadly died at Kettering General Hospital on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Doctors also linked a further two deaths in North Northamptonshire care homes last week to Covid-19, according to regulators the Care Quality Commission.
No information is published locally about vaccination status of hospital patients, nor on the uptake of booster jabs below national level.
Mr Pallot added: “It is crucial for the county that as many people as possible get their full Covid-19 vaccine course to protect themselves, loved ones and the wider community.
“If you were one of the first to get the vaccine, we know from scientific evidence that your immunity from Covid-19 will now be waning.
“It is perfectly safe to have your Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time, so there’s no need to delay getting one or the other as soon as you can."
Drop-in clinics continue to open across the county in a bid to get as many jabbed and protected as possible although appointments can still be booked online or by calling 119.
Those eligible for boosters — anybody over 50 or clinically vulnerable and unpaid carers — will have letters and text messages from five months following their second dose.
Mr Johnson refused to rule out a Christmas lockdown during a press conference on Monday (November 15) and warned there were 'storm clouds' gathering with a new wave of the virus sweeping through Europe.
He said: "History shows that we cannot afford to be complacent. Those countries with lower vaccination rates have tended to see bigger surges in infection and in turn been forced to respond with harsher measures.
“It would be an utter tragedy if, after everything we have been through, people who had done the right thing by getting double vaccinated ended up becoming seriously ill or even losing their lives because they allowed their immunity to wane."