Covid-19 vaccine total hits 2.5 million but health leaders say still more to do
More than 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccinations have now been given out to people living across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
Local vaccination teams hit the milestone achievement at the end of last month after thousands of people aged 50 and over received their autumn booster.
However, many people currently eligible for their latest top-up dose are still yet to come forward, and the region’s health leaders are urging those due a vaccine not to wait any longer.
Locally, only around half (44 per cent) of all those eligible for the Covid-19 autumn booster have so far taken up the vaccination offer.
Vaccines for Covid-19 continue to be available from a range of local venues, including Bath Racecourse, the Steam Museum in Swindon and Salisbury City Hall, and can be booked quickly and easily online at www.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 119.
Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We really do need all those who are eligible for their Covid-19 vaccine to not only come forward for their booster, but to also have the flu vaccination.
“In the most severe cases, both flu and Covid-19 can make a person feel so poorly that they need hospital care to recover, and it’s very likely the two viruses will become more prevalent over the next few months, when the weather is cold and we spend more time indoors.
“What’s more, flu could hit the most vulnerable even harder than usual this year, as many will have been shielded from the virus during the pandemic, meaning people’s immune systems may not be as robust as pre-Covid-19.
“The best way to avoid getting ill this winter is to get vaccinated, and to do so as quickly as possible.”
All adults over the age of 50 are entitled to the Covid-19 autumn booster, as well as a free NHS flu jab.
Many other people are also eligible for both vaccines, including pregnant women, people with a weakened immune system and frontline health and social care staff.
Current data shows that approximately 50 per cent of over-65s in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have had a flu vaccine, while only around one out of every 10 people aged between 50 and 64-years-old have had the jab.
Flu vaccines can be obtained for free from a variety of locations, including GP practices and community pharmacies.
Adults who do not qualify for a free flu jab can still get protected by arranging to have the vaccine privately on the high street, either from a chemist, such as Boots or Lloyds, or a supermarket with an on-site pharmacy.
More information about the rollout of the vaccines for both Covid-19 and flu can be found online at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.