Vaccines chief salutes "massive team effort" as jabs pass 625,000 in Northamptonshire
'We can see the impact programme is having on severity of the virus', says director Chris Pallot
The man in charge of Northamptonshire's Covid-19 vaccine rollout hailed a "massive team effort" after the number of first doses delivered in the county passed 400,000.
Latest official figures show 406,241 people had received at least one jab — and more than half of those, 222,534 had been given a second dose by Monday (May 17).
Many of those delivering vaccines and running clinics across Northamptonshire are unpaid volunteers.
Director Chris Pallot said: "We've now given 628,000 doses and it's worth reflecting on that number and the titanic effort that's gone into delivering that.
"From our colleagues in primary care, the hospital hubs, community pharmacies and the vaccination centre at Moulton Park — this is a massisve team effort.
"We've still got a long way to go but I'd like to say thank you to every single member of NHS staff, every single volunteer that's come forward to help us because we couldn't have made this journey without you."
Anybody aged 36 or 37 is now eligible for first doses of the vaccine, although the government is set to open bookings up to younger age groups in a race to get more people vaccinated amid fears of an Indian variant of the virus spreading faster.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said this week 86 local authorities have seen are five or more confirmed cases of the Indian variant — including West Northamptonshire.
Six cases were confirmed last week leading to targeting testing at Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester.
In Northamptonshire, the target is to offer at least one jab to around 600,000 people by the end of July.
But Mr Pallot insists the drive to deliver more first doses should not get in the way of people needing booster shots.
He added: "It's important to remember that this is a two-shot programme.
"I'm really pleased to see the percentages of patients that have attended for their second dose and are now fully covered.
"This vaccine boosts your immunity, helps protects you and family and friends from Covid. It doesn't guarantee that you wont catch it but what it does do is to reduce the severity of the illness and the rate of transmission if you are unfortunate enough to catch it.
"We can see Covid-19 is affecting younger age groups and we can see the impact on our hospital beds, so we can show the severity of virus is reducing as we are expanding our programme."