Last big push to get jabs into Northamptonshire's final 135,000 in countdown to Freedom Day
Appeal for extra volunteers to help as more vaccine drop-ins are planned before July 19
Northamptonshire will get more grab a jab sessions in a final massive push to deliver as many vaccinations as possible before Freedom Day.
An appeal has gone out for extra volunteers to help NHS staff deliver jabs at centres across the county.
Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday (July 5) that Covid-19 restrictions can be lifted thanks to the success of the vaccination programme weakening the link between the virus and hospitalisations.
Yet it looks likely that around 135,000 people in Northamptonshire will be unprotected by July 19 when the Prime Minister wants to finally scrap laws over wearing face masks and social distancing.
No-appointment-necessary jabs are already available seven days a week at the Moulton Park vaccination centre delivering first doses for anyone aged 18 and over and second doses for those who had a Moderna first dose at least eight weeks ago.
But similar sessions are set to be launched county-wide in effort to mop up the final 20 percent or so.
Chris Pallot, Director of Northamptonshire’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “There are already lots of ways you can come and get your vaccine.
“You can drop in at Moulton Park seven days a week anytime between 8am and 7.30pm or you can book an appointment at the vaccination centre or at a pharmacy site near you by visiting the NHS website or calling 119. Or, you can get in touch with your GP practice.
“We will also be announcing details of more drop-in vaccination sessions around the county within the next couple of days, so please keep an eye on northamptonshire.gov.uk/covidvaccine for more information.
“We are doing all we can to ensure your journey through the Vaccination Centre is a quick and smooth one, but it is still possible you will have to wait. So please make sure you are dressed for the weather.
"NHS staff, volunteers and other partners across our county have done an incredible job so far delivering the largest vaccination drive in our history
“Everyone in Northamptonshire aged 18 and above is now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine and I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had their jab to come forward.
“Vaccination is our best possible protection from coronavirus and is our route back to normal life. The more of us who are vaccinated the safer we will all be."
More than 506,000 people had at least one jab in Northamptonshire by Monday with 374,848 fully vaccinated.
But around one in five of the county's adults are likely to be unprotected if Covid-19 restrictions are lifted on July 19, despite being offered jabs.
Many scientists and doctors say the Prime Minister is taking a huge gamble by use their personal judgment over the risk of infection.
County Public Health director Lucy Wightman admitted the Prime Minister's decision to lift restrictions could be seen as a risk, saying: "It feels uncomfortable while case rates are still escalating rapidly as they have in the last week.
But she added: "I do recognise this is a really difficult decision and at some point we do have to take a step forward and live with the level of risk as we do with a number of infectious diseases."
The number of people testing positive in the county rose to 1,136 over the last week according to data published on Tuesday, more than double the 507 from the the previous seven days.
Mr Johnson revealed new cases are doubling every nine days, adding: "We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid."
NHS England this week confirmed the death of a Covid-19 patient being treated by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust on Friday (July 2).
The trust operates from 25 locations including a number of community hospitals at Northampton, Brackley, Corby, Kettering and Daventry and also health services at eight prisons outside the county. It has not been disclosed where any of the 22 Covid-related deaths at NHFT establishments occurred during the pandemic.
Northamptonshire's two acute NHS hospitals have reported two Covid-releated deaths among patients since mid-April, the latest at Kettering General Hospital on Sunday (July 4).
Hundreds of volunteers have already given up thousands of hours to help NHS staff since the vaccination rollout started in December.
Royal Voluntary Service chief executive Catherine Johnstone said: “There is a real urgency to this and we are working at pace to get all adults vaccinated as fast as possible so there is a particular need for steward volunteers to help the vaccination programme reach communities most in need.
"If you are able to help by joining the team, please don’t hesitate.”
People interested are being asked to go to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk to sign up. Shifts usually last up to six hours with your expenses covered.
No experience or qualifications are required and a full briefing is provided on site.
■ Anyone aged 18 or over is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination — book online HERE any time or call 119 free between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. You can turn up without an appointment at Moulton Park Vaccination Centre any day between 8am and 7.30pm.
■ Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms — a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or loss or change in sense of taste — should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test online HERE or by calling 119.