Health chiefs step up call for over-50s to get a Covid booster jab as cases rise in Northamptonshire hospitals
New research shows protection against severe virus symptoms is halved six months after second dose
Health chiefs in Northamptonshire are warning the county's over-50s not to miss out on their Covid-19 booster jabs as latest research shows protection from two doses reduces significantly over time.
New findings by the government's advisers Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies shows protection against severe coronavirus symptoms can fall by more than half six months after the second dose.
And experts fear that just a five percent drop in protection could lead to hospital admissions multiplying.
NHS England confirmed on Tuesday (November 2) that at least 47 Covid patients sadly died at Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital during the four weeks to November 1.
And the number of patients admitted to the two main county hospitals with the virus reached 110 — around ten percent of capacity — when the latest data was collected last Tuesday (October 26).
More than half of all patients in critical care beds are being treated for the virus.
Chris Pallot, Director of the county's Covid-19 vaccination rollout, said: “Based on this new evidence, where we can see that protection from coronavirus does decrease over time, I urge anyone that has been called to get their booster to do so as soon as possible by booking ahead or visiting a drop-in site near you.
"As we head towards a challenging winter, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get that much-needed extra protection.
“If you have been called for a first jab, second or a booster please do not delay.
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“We know that getting vaccinated is our best protection against coronavirus and helps slow the spread of infection. Every single jab makes a difference to our communities and loved ones.
"Your vaccination is waiting for you so please go and get it.”
Concerns have been raised about the speed of delivering boosters nationally.
Analysis by inews today revealed that it will take another three months for all over-50s to get jabs if the booster rollout continues at the current rate.
Mr Pallot said last week that around 70,000 people had received boosters in Northampton but that represents only about a quarter of the county's over-50s. People who are clinically vulnerable plus health and care staff are also eligible.
SAGE experts revealed that with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, protection falls from 65 percent up to three months after a second dose to 45 percent after six months.
For the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine, protection falls from 90 percent to 65 percent.
Those eligible for a booster dose will receive letters and text messages confirming their eligibility six months after their second jab and offering them the chance to book a vaccine by going online, calling 119 or visiting a local drop-in clinic in Northampton, Corby and South Northamptonshire or at the Moulton Park Vaccination Centre.
Drop-in clinics are also open around the county for anyone needing a third primary dose — those who are immunosuppressed.
More walk-in sessions and bookable appointments continue to be available for anyone over 16 who is yet take up offers of a first dose — or second at least eight weeks after their first.