Vaccine chiefs 'encouraged' as 30,000 get Covid booster jabs in a week in Northamptonshire

NHS gearing up at 'extreme pace' to meet government January target

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 1:33 pm

Northamptonshire NHS staff are gearing up at 'extreme pace' in an effort to meet the target of offering Covid-19 booster jabs to all adults by the end of January.

But those in charge of the county vaccination programme admit any firm plans are on hold until the NHS sets out details on how it will reach tens of thousands more people in less than nine weeks.

Booking systems are not yet updated to allow anybody under 40 to book booster doses, nor those who had a second jab less than six months previously.

More people are being encouraged to come forward after 30,000 booster doses were delivered in Northants last week

But NHS chiefs are 'encouraged' at an uptick in those already eligible coming forward since the government's big announcement.

Anna Dorothy, the county progamme deputy director, said: "Last week we delivered around 30,000 booster vaccinations across the county.

"So, for those who are eligible for a vaccine now, please do come forward to get your jab by booking online, calling 119 or visiting one of our drop-in clinics across the county.

“Meanwhile, the NHS is having to work at extreme pace to put in place the next phase of the successful Covid-19 vaccination programme and it will shortly set out how teams will expand the booster programme to tens of thousands more people in Northamptonshire."

Boris Johnson promised to 'throw everything' at the vaccination campaign to tackle the Omicron variant.

The Prime Minister announced a huge NHS effort, backed by the Army and volunteers, saying 'temporary vaccine centres will be popping up like Christmas trees.'

Government figures published recently showed fewer than half the over-50s in West Northamptonshire, 83,861 people, had come forward for a booster jab or third vaccine dose by November 21.

The process is also being slowed by the sheer number of people catching Covid — nearly 4,000 in the last seven days county-wide — who need to wait 12 weeks after a positive test.

Some GPs have already branded government plans unrealistic and 'a bit of a joke.'

Dr Jamie Green, a GP at Delapre Medical Centre, told BBC Radio Northampton: "We're struggling to do the over-50s and we are going to struggle a lot to do the over-40s.

"Suddenly, overnight, we now have over 18-year-olds calling the surgery wanting a booster vaccine."