Don’t delay get protected – staff ready and waiting to vaccinate

Health / Sat 8th Jan 2022 at 10:09am

NHS staff in Hertfordshire and west Essex have urged everybody to come forward and get protected against COVID-19, with thousands of appointments available across our area in the next week.

Staff are working incredibly hard to roll out the Covid vaccine programme, the biggest and most successful in health service history, while dealing with the increase in demand for urgent and emergency care and addressing backlogs that have inevitably built up while hospitals and GPs treated more than 500,000 patients with the virus.

The NHS Covid vaccination programme in Hertfordshire and west Essex has already delivered nearly 3 million doses, helping to keep many thousands of patients out of hospital and saving lives. In the last three weeks alone, more than a quarter of a million people from west Essex and Hertfordshire have been vaccinated.

Dr Rachel Joyce, Director of Clinical Services for the area said: “GP practices have been allowed to put aside or defer non-essential and non-urgent routine work to enable them to prioritise the life-saving vaccination programme this winter, and additional vaccination capacity has been opened up in community pharmacies and vaccination centres. Our centres were all very busy over Christmas and New Year, but sadly we’re not seeing those big numbers through our doors this week. We have highly trained and experienced staff ready and waiting to protect the public – so if you haven’t taken up your vaccinations yet, please make today the day you decide to get fully protected.”
Scientists are very worried about the arrival of Omicron variant because of the speed with which it spreads and because two vaccine doses do not give the population the full protection we all need. That’s why everyone over 18 can now get their booster from three months after their second or third primary dose and the national booking service has now opened for 12-15-year olds to get their second COVID-19 jab.

Dr Joyce added: “The latest figures show that Covid cases – including Delta and Omicron variants – remain high and rising in our area. As of January 6, there were over 13,000 Covid cases recorded in a week in Hertfordshire alone – which means that more than one in every hundred people in the county are known to have the virus – up by 11% compared to the week before. Thanks to the vaccination programme, this is not yet turning into a significant increase in serious COVID cases in hospital, but this doesn’t mean that COVID has gone away. People who haven’t had their vaccinations are at a much higher risk of serious illness and hospitalisation in the short term, with Long COVID affecting some people of all ages for weeks or even months.”

If you would like to ‘walk-in’ to a local clinic without an appointment, go to https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/events/vaccination-walk-in-clinic-times. You do not need to be registered with a GP to get your vaccination at a walk-in clinic. To book an appointment at a large vaccination centre, call 119 or go to nhs.uk/covidvaccine

If you have recently had COVID, you must wait at least 28 days after testing positive before having a COVID vaccination. Booster vaccinations top-up natural immunity levels and give the best possible protection.

The public can help NHS staff to be there for those patients who need them most by getting their COVID and flu jabs if they are eligible, considering visiting a pharmacy for minor issues, and by using the free, 24/7 NHS 111 online or phone service for urgent health issues.

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